New bill will promote gay equality
A new equality bill seeking to actively promote equality for lesbian, bisexual and gay people will be formally announced in November’s Queen’s speech.
Early next year it will go through parliament and should become law by the summer of 2009.
The bill is intended to be an extension of the current duty on public authorities to actively promote equality into services like fostering, magistrates courts and health clinics, to make their services more accessible to lesbian, bisexual and gay people.
The bill will also tighten exemptions of current non-discrimination laws in areas surrounding religion and employment.
Currently, pieces of legislation like the Sexual Orientation Regulations covering goods and services do attempt to wipe out discrimination, however there is currently no bill that requires the promotion of equality for lesbian, bisexual and gay people.
As a result, many of them may not get the best out of public services.
A recent report published by gay equality organisation Stonewall, ‘Serves You Right,’ showed that lesbian and gay people across Britain still expect discrimination and poorer treatment from a range of public services.
Stonewall told PinkNews.co.uk:
“The legal protection is almost complete. The next step is actively promoting equality.”
A newsletter sent to Stonewall supporters stated that the health, education and criminal justice systems “need to do more than deal with discrimination after it happens.”
Over the next 18 months, Stonewall will be lobbying parliament to ensure that the new bill will be as extensive as it needs to be, to provide better treatment for Britain’s 3.6 million lesbian, gay and bisexual citizens.