The House of Commons today (27 April 2009) publishes the Equality Bill in a trial format.
The text of the Bill is interleaved with that of the Explanatory Notes so that the two texts appear in parallel on facing pages, side-by-side.
The Bill and Explanatory note are available as a:
- PDF with both texts side-by-side,
- an HTML page with the texts side-by-side, and
- an interwoven web page (HTML)
All versions are available on the Equality Bill page (link here)
The Equality Bill is expected to come in to force sometime next year (2010).
Further, related links are to be found on the Government Equalities Office website (link here).
I also recommend visiting the Gender Spectrum UK forum (link here).
Some initial points arising from the GS-UK discussion:
- Gender Reassignment Definition: The legal definition of “Gender Reassignment” no longer has the requirement for the process to be carried out under medical supervision.
- Public Sector Equality Duty: The Equality Bill contains a public sector duty covering the seven strands of age; disability; gender reassignment; race; religion or belief; sex; and sexual orientation.
- Association and Perception: Discrimination is banned in the Equality Bill if it is done “because of” gender reassignment (the old definition was “on grounds of” gender reassignment). Harassment “related to” gender reassignment (the old definition was “on grounds of” gender reassignment) is also outlawed.
- School Education: Goods, facilities and services protection against discrimination because of gender reassignment is extended to include school education. But harassment related to gender reassignment within school education is not covered.
- Religious Exceptions: Religious bodies are still allowed to discriminate in employment for certain posts.
It’s not yet clear to me (a) how this legislation will be enforced and (b) what the penalties will be for breaking the law.
Previous related posts on this blog:
- ONS to calculate the size of Britain’s GLB population. But apparently not the number of trans people. (December 7, 2008)
- The Queen’s Speech and the Equality Bill (December 3, 2008)
- Equalities Bill announced (June 26, 2008)