The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 (the Act) extends marriage to same sex couples in England and Wales. This guide explains how the Act affects public authorities when they are exercising their functions. This document is useful for central and local government, prisons, hospitals, education institutions, and any other organisation exercising public functions.
Rights under equality law protect against unlawful discrimination and harassment based on various protected characteristics, including marriage and civil partnership, religion or belief, sexual orientation and gender assignment. Human rights law also provides protection against discrimination in the enjoyment of certain rights, and protects the rights to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, freedom of assembly and freedom of expression. Our accompanying guidance on marriage and the law covers these rights in greater detail.