Lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) people: policy context

In February 2014 the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Act  was passed, extending  the right to marry to include same sex couples. The primary legislation relevant to the health of LGB people is now the Equality Act 2010.  However, previous legislation covered LGB people. Same sex relationships are recognised as equivalent to opposite sex relationships in Scottish legislation including the Adults with Incapacity (Scotland) Act 2000, the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 2003 and the Mental Health (Care and Treatment) (Scotland) Act 2003. The Offences (Aggravation by Prejudice) (Scotland) Act 2009 provides legal protection for victims of crime who are targeted as a result of hatred of their actual or presumed sexual orientation, transgender identity or disability.

Several recent UK bills have also contributed to equality for LGB people. The Civil Partnership Act 2004 came into force in December 2005 and grants same sex couples entering into a civil partnership similar rights and responsibilities to civil marriage. In 2003 the government introduced the Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2003. These regulations outlaw discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation in employment and vocational training.

The Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2007 came into force in April 2007. These regulations ban discrimination in the provision of goods, facilities and services on the grounds of sexual orientation.

A number of significant policies have been introduced in recent years aimed at tackling issues of inequality and discrimination in Scotland. The Scottish Government provides specific information about Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender(LGBT) equality issues.

Within NHS Scotland the term Fair for All describes the approach taken by the NHS to promote equality and diversity. This approach incorporates the topics of age, disability, gender, race or ethnicity, religion or belief and sexual orientation. A specific sub-report of Fair For All - The Wider Challenge Good LGBT Practice in the NHS (1040Kb) (2005) focuses on good practice for LGBT people.