These Regulations, which are made under section 81 of the Equality Act 2006, come into force on 30 April 2007 and make it unlawful to discriminate on the grounds of sexual orientation in the provision of goods, facilities and services, education, disposal and management of premises and exercise of public functions. Sexual orientation is defined in section 35 of the Equality Act 2006 as meaning an individual's sexual orientation towards persons of the same sex as him or her, persons of the opposite sex, or both. Discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation is defined in regulation 3. Direct discrimination occurs where a person is treated less favourably than another on grounds of sexual orientation (regulation 3(1)). Indirect discrimination occurs where a provision, criterion or practice, which is applied generally, puts a person of a particular sexual orientation at a disadvantage and cannot be shown to be a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim (regulation 3(3)). Regulation 3(4) provides that for the purpose of the provisions defining whether discrimination has taken place, when comparing the treatment of two people, the fact that one is a civil partner and the other is married is not a material difference in the circumstances. Victimisation, defined in regulation 3(5), occurs where a person receives less favourable treatment than another by reason of the fact that he has brought (or given evidence in or provided information in connection with) proceedings, made an allegation or otherwise done anything under or by reference to the Regulations, or because he intends to do so.
Regulations 4 to 18 prohibit discrimination in the provision of goods, facilities, services, disposal and management of premises, education and the exercise of public functions.
Regulation 15 provides a transitional period for religious adoption and fostering agencies to comply with the Regulations, provided they refer a person who has been refused their service on grounds of their sexual orientation, to another provider.
The Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2007