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Scottish Legislation

Scottish Parliament legislation which recognises same-sex relationships is as follows: wedding rings

  • Adults with Incapacity (Scotland) Act 2000 - recognise that a partner of a person in a same-sex relationship can be treated as that person's nearest relative, in the same way as a husband or wife.
  • Housing (Scotland) Act 2001 - allows same-sex partners to succeed tenancy if partner dies. Encourages equal opportunities, including on grounds of sexual orientation.
  • Mortgage Rights (Scotland) Act 2001 - allows same sex partners to apply for a court order to stop a property being repossessed, if the security subjects, in whole or in part, are that person's main or sole residence.
  • Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 2003 - recognises same-sex partners as victim's partners and allows participation in the criminal justice process, including information giving and support for victims of crime.
  • The Mental Health (Care and Responsibilities)(Scotland) Act 2003 - recognises nearest relative as someone in a relationship which has the characteristics of the relationship between husband and wife except that the person and the relevant person are of the same sex.
  • Civil Legal Aid (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2003 - recognises same sex partners who are living together in a relationship which has the characteristics of the relationship between husband and wife shall be treated as if they were spouses in assessment of resources.
  • Family Law (Scotland) Act 2006 - gives new rights to cohabiting couples including same sex partners in terms of inheritance and financial provision after breakdown of a relationship.
  • Adoption and Children (Scotland) Act 2007- a cohabiting same-sex couple who are in "an enduring family relationship" will be able to apply to jointly adopt a child, and one partner will be able to apply to "step-parent" adopt their partner's child.
  • Forced Marriage etc. (Protection and Jurisdiction) Act 2011 - provides protection for people being forced into marriage without their free and full consent, and for people who have been forced into marriage without such consent.

Other Legislation

Patrick Harvie MSP lodged a proposal for a member's bill on Hate Crime in October 2007. On 15 January 2008, the Cabinet Secretary for Justice announced Scottish Government support for Mr Harvie's Bill. The Bill was introduced to Parliament on 19 May 2008 and received Royal Assent in July 2009. The law previously required that, when passing sentence, the court must take into account any racial or religious motivation for any crime that has been committed.

The Offences (Aggravation by Prejudice) (Scotland) Act 2009 came into effect on 24 March 2010, and extends protection already in place for victims of crime motivated by racial or religious prejudice to cover LGBT and disabled people based on the victim's actual or presumed sexual orientation (whether homosexual, bisexual or heterosexual), transgender identity or disability.

UK Legislation

There have also been a number of significant developments in UK legislation including:

  • The UK Government's Equality Act 2010 received Royal Assent in April 2010. The overarching aim of the Act is to restate, simplify and, where appropriate, harmonise the various different pieces of equality legislation that have been produced over the last 40 years. It covers the protected characteristics of age, disability, gender reassignment, pregnancy and maternity, marriage and civil partnership, race, religion and belief, sex and sexual orientation. It sets out the rights that people with these characteristics have to be protected from discrimination in areas such as employment, education, goods and services and the exercise of public functions. It replaces previous LGBT equality legislation including the Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2007 and the Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2003. The bulk of the Act came into force in October 2010.
  • Civil Partnerships Act 2004 - The Act creates a new legal relationship of civil partnership, which two people of the same-sex can form by signing a registration document. It also provides same-sex couples who form a civil partnership with parity of treatment in a wide range of legal matters with those opposite-sex couples who enter into a civil marriage.
  • Gender Recognition Act 2004 - The Gender Recognition Act will mean a person who has undergone gender reassignment will, subject to certain conditions, be able to apply for a for a gender recognition certificate in their new sex, which will give them the same legal rights in employment as a person of that sex.

You can find more information about UK Government Legislation, including information about your rights and what to do if you have been discriminated against at the Direct Gov website.