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The Government reintroduced the bill in With the prospect of it being passed by the Commons in two successive sessions of Parliament, the Parliament Acts and were available to enact the bill should the Lords have rejected it a third time. The Lords passed the bill at second reading, but made an amendment during committee stage to maintain the age of consent for buggery at 18 for both sexes.

However, as the bill had not completed its passage through the Lords at the end of the parliamentary session on 30 November , then Speaker of the House of Commons Michael Martin certified that the procedure specified by the Parliament Acts had been complied with.

The bill received royal assent a few hours later, and was enacted as the Sexual Offences Amendment Act The provisions of the Act came into force throughout the UK on 8 January , lowering the age of consent to On 1 May , the Sexual Offences Act entered into force, which swept away all of the previous sex-specific legislation, including the Act, and introduced instead neutral offences. Thus, the previous conditions relating to privacy were removed, and sexual acts were viewed by the law without regard to the sex of the participants.

With the passage of the Sexual Offences Northern Ireland Order , Northern Ireland, which had an age of consent of 17 regardless of one's sexual orientation, lowered the age to 16 in so it would match that of England, Wales, and Scotland.

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On 31 January , the Policing and Crime Act went into effect after being given royal assent. A section of the Act known as the " Alan Turing law " officially gave posthumous pardons to the thousands of homosexual men from England and Wales who had been convicted under those regions' old sodomy laws, and gave those still living the possibility to apply to have their conviction erased. Disregards have been available since , removing the conviction from the person's criminal records.

This law repealed sections 4 and 3 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act , which was labelled as the UK's "last anti-gay law". It went into effect immediately after royal assent. There was no legal recognition of same-sex relationships in Britain until , following the legalisation of civil partnerships under the passage of the Civil Partnership Act on 18 November Civil partnerships are a separate union which give most but not all of the rights and responsibilities of civil marriage, but there are recognition issues in other countries and with the use of courtesy titles.

The Straits Times

Civil partnerships can take place on any approved premise in the UK and in approved religious venues in England and Wales since though religious venues are not compelled , but cannot include religious readings, music or symbols. The first civil partnership ceremony took place at He died the next day.


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Same-sex marriage in the United Kingdom has been the subject of wide debate since the decriminalisation of homosexuality in Britain. Previous legislation in England and Wales had prevented same-sex marriage, including the Marriage Act which defined marriage as between a man and a woman, the Nullity of Marriage Act which explicitly banned same-sex marriages, and the Matrimonial Causes Act which reiterated the provisions of the Nullity of Marriage Act. While civil partnerships were established nationwide, marriage law is a devolved matter in the United Kingdom and therefore the legislative procedure of same-sex marriage differs by jurisdiction.

The Marriage Same Sex Couples Act , which allows same-sex marriage in England and Wales, was passed by the UK Parliament in July and came into force on 13 March , with the first same-sex marriages taking place on 29 March Same-sex marriages in the UK give all the rights and responsibilities of civil marriage and can be performed on approved premises. This also includes religious venues, providing the religious or belief body has opted in. However, no religious or belief body is compelled to perform same-sex marriages; the Church of England and the Church in Wales are explicitly banned from doing so.

For the purposes of the divorce of a same-sex marriage, the common law definition of adultery remains as sexual intercourse between a man and a woman only, although infidelity with a person of the same sex can be grounds for a divorce as "unreasonable behaviour. In Northern Ireland, same-sex marriage is not recognised or performed, following several votes against it by the Northern Ireland Assembly.

Same-sex marriages performed in Great Britain and across the world are recognised as civil partnerships in Northern Ireland. Of the MLAs who voted on a motion to recognise same-sex marriage, 53 MLAs votes in favour and 51 voted against, the first time a majority of the Assembly had ever voted in favour of same-sex marriage.

However, the DUP again tabled a motion of concern, preventing the motion from having any legal effect. Under the Adoption and Children Act , Parliament provided that an application to adopt a child in England and Wales could be made by either a single person or a couple. The previous condition that the couple be married was dropped, thus allowing a same-sex couple to apply.

The Lords rejected the proposal on one occasion before it was passed. Supporters of the move in Parliament stressed that adoption was not a "gay rights" issue but one of providing as many children as possible with a stable family environment rather than seeing them kept in care. Opponents raised doubts over the stability of relationships outside marriage, and how instability would impact on the welfare of adopted children.

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However, the law was successfully passed and went into effect on 30 December The law also allows both partners to be identified on the child's birth certificate by the words "parent". Since 31 August , legislation granting lesbians equal birth rights in England and Wales came into effect, meaning both can now be named on a child's birth certificate, amending the Registration of Births and Deaths Regulations This positive change means that, for the first time, female couples who have a child using fertility treatment have the same rights as their heterosexual counterparts to be shown as parents in the birth registration.

It is vital that we afford equality wherever we can in society, especially as family circumstances continue to change. This is an important step forward in that process.

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Iain Duncan Smith , who led efforts to oppose the change, said that "The absence of fathers generally has a detrimental effect on the child. In , 9. This was an increase from 8. In December , the Lord Chancellor's office published a "Government Policy Concerning Transsexual People" document that categorically states that transsexualism "is not a mental illness. Since 4 April , as per the Gender Recognition Act , it has been possible for transgender people to change their legal gender in the UK, allowing them to acquire a new birth certificate , affording them full recognition of their acquired sex in law for all purposes.

It is not a requirement for sex reassignment surgery to have taken place, although such surgery will be accepted as part of the supporting evidence for a case where it has taken place. There is formal approval of medical gender reassignment available either on the National Health Service NHS or privately. However, there have been concerns regarding marriages and civil partnerships. Under the Gender Recognition Act , transgender people who are married have been required to divorce or annul their marriage in order for them to be issued with a GRC.

The Government chose to retain this requirement in the Act as effectively it would have legalised a small category of same-sex marriages. The Civil Partnership Act allowed the creation of civil partnerships between same-sex couples, but a married couple that includes a transgender partner cannot simply re-register their new status. They must first have their marriage dissolved, gain legal recognition of the new gender and then register for a civil partnership.

This is like any divorce with the associated paperwork and costs.


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  7. With the legalisation of same-sex marriage in England and Wales, existing marriages will continue where one or both parties change their legal gender and both parties wish to remain married. However, civil partnerships continue where only both parties change their gender simultaneously and wish to remain in their civil partnership.

    This restriction remains as effectively it would legalise a small category of opposite-sex civil partnerships. The legislation also does not restore any of the marriages of transgender people that were forcibly annulled as a precondition for them securing a GRC and states that a GRC will not be issued unless the spouse of the transgender person has consented. If the spouse does not consent, the marriage must be terminated before a GRC may be issued. Intersex people in the United Kingdom face significant gaps, particularly in protection from non-consensual medical interventions, and protection from discrimination.

    Actions by intersex organisations aim to eliminate unnecessary medical interventions and harmful practices, promote social acceptance, and equality in line with Council of Europe and United Nations demands. Regulations were introduced for discrimination protections on sexual orientation in employment on 1 December , following the adoption of an EC Directive in , providing for the prohibition of discrimination in employment on the grounds of sexual orientation.

    LGBT rights in the United Kingdom - Wikipedia

    The Regulations banned discrimination against individuals undergoing "gender reassignment" in employment and vocational training. The Sex Discrimination Amendment of Legislation Regulations extended these protections to cover discrimination in goods, facilities and services. On 30 April , the Sexual Orientation Regulations came into force, following the introduction of similar provisions in Northern Ireland in January They provided a general prohibition of discrimination in the provision of goods and services on the grounds of sexual orientation.

    Similar legislation had long previously been in force in respect of discrimination on the grounds of sex , race , disability and marital status. The introduction of the Regulations was controversial and a dispute arose between the Government and the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales over exemptions for Catholic adoption agencies.

    Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Birmingham declared his opposition to the Act, saying that the legislation contradicted the Catholic Church's moral values. Several Catholic adoption agencies requested exemption from sexual orientation regulations, and the adoption charity Catholic Care obtained a judgement on 17 March instructing the Charity Commission to reconsider its case.

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    Catholic Care stated its intention to appeal the judgement. In October , the Government announced that it would seek to introduce an amendment to the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act to create a new offence of incitement to hatred on the grounds of sexual orientation. Incitement to hatred on the grounds of sexual orientation was already illegal in Northern Ireland.

    Scotland encated similar legislation in , which also includes gender identity as a protected ground. The Equality Act received royal assent on 8 April Other initiatives have included the establishment of the Commission for Equality and Human Rights on 1 October which is tasked with working for equality in all areas and replaced the previous commissions dedicated to sex, race and disability alone; the setting up of the Sexual Orientation and Gender Advisory Group within the Department of Health ; [88] a provision of the Criminal Justice Act that a court must treat hostility based on sexual orientation as an aggravating factor for sentencing a person; [89] guidance from the Crown Prosecution Service on dealing with homophobic crimes; [90] and a commitment from the Government to work for LGBT rights at an international level.

    The s saw a setback for LGBT rights. The availability in the libraries of schools run by the Inner London Education Authority of a book considered by some to "promote" homosexuality led to protests and a campaign for new legislation. Changes in the structure of local government since that date led to some confusion over the precise circumstances in which the new law applied, including the question of whether or not it applied at all in state schools.

    Scotland Act Following her death in , it was repealed by the Labour Government in a new Local Government Act , which took effect on 18 November During the passage of the bill, no attempt was made to retain the section and an amendment seeking to preserve it using ballots was defeated in the House of Lords. In June , David Cameron , Conservative Party Leader, formally apologised for his party introducing the law, stating that it was a mistake and offensive to gay people.

    Section 29JA, titled "Protection of freedom of expression sexual orientation ", of the Act states the following: LGBT people have been allowed to serve openly in Her Majesty's Armed Forces since , and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation has been forbidden since All personnel are subject to the same rules against intolerance, bullying and sexual harassment , regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation.

    The British military also recognises civil partnerships and grants same-sex couples the same rights to allowances and housing as opposite-sex couples. The current policy was accepted at the lower ranks first, with many senior officers worrying for their troops without a modern acceptance of homosexuality that their personnel had grown up with. One Brigadier resigned but with little impact.

    Since the change, support at the senior level has grown.

    In a speech to the conference in , the first of its kind by any Army chief, General Sir Richard said that respect for LGBT officers and soldiers was now "a command responsibility" and was vital for "operational effectiveness. The British Army requires all soldiers to undergo Equality and Diversity training as part of their Military Annual Training Tests and stress tolerance, specifically citing homosexual examples in training videos, [99] in line with the British Army Core Values and Standards, [] [] including "Respect for Others" and "Appropriate Behaviour.

    In , on the tenth anniversary of the change of law that permitted homosexuality in the Armed Forces, newspapers reported that the lifting of the ban had no perceivable impact on the operational effectiveness on the military. The anniversary was widely celebrated, including in the Army's in house publication Soldier Magazine , with a series of articles including the July cover story and newspapers articles. Peel, Clarke and Drescher wrote in that only one organisation in Britain could be identified with conversion therapy , a religious organisation called "The Freedom Trust" [] part of Exodus International: The paper reported that practitioners who did provide these sorts of treatments between the s and s now view homosexuality as healthy, and the evidence suggests that 'conversion therapy' is a historical rather than a contemporary phenomenon in Britain, where treatment for homosexuality has always been less common than in the US.

    In , the Royal College of Psychiatrists , the main professional organisation of psychiatrists in Britain, issued a report stating that: However, they may be misunderstood by therapists who regard their homosexuality as the root cause of any presenting problem such as depression or anxiety.

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