Our intention is to publish the Government response to the consultation held earlier this year on proposals to prohibit discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation in the provision of goods and services in good time before the regulations are laid before Parliament in time for commencement on6 April 2007.
[holding answer 4 December 2006]: The regulations to prohibit sexual orientation discrimination in the provision of goods and services in Great Britain will be brought forward under Section 81 of the Equality Act 2006. Separate regulations are being made for Northern Ireland under Section 82 of the Equality Act because Northern Ireland’s anti-discrimination framework is distinct from that which applies to the rest of Great Britain. However, the regulations that will apply to Great Britain share their overarching policy aim with The Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2006 that were laid before the House on 24 November. That goal is to eliminate unfair discrimination faced by lesbians, gay men and bisexual people when accessing goods and services across the whole of the United Kingdom.
Ministers and officials have discussed the likely impact of the Sexual Orientation Regulations with a wide range of interest groups. This has included meetings with a number of organisations representing religious interests about the impact of the regulations in these areas.