Marriage and civil partnership

The Equality Act 2010 makes it unlawful to discriminate against a person on the basis of their marital or civil partnership status.

Marriage is defined as a ‘union between two people’. Same-sex couples can also have their relationships legally recognised as a ‘civil partnership’. Civil partners must be treated the same as married couples on a wide range of legal matters including protection under the Equality Act.

The Council is committed to promoting equality irrespective of marital or civil partnership status and valuing the contribution made by all citizens. For more information on household composition in Hackney see the Hackney profile.

Examples of discrimination on the basis of marriage and civil partnership

The following examples from the Black, White and Grey website, illustrate when illegal discrimination on the grounds of marriage or same sex civil partnership might occur:

  • if a worker who was in a same sex civil partnership was offered less favourable terms in a company pension or healthcare insurance scheme than employees who were married
  • if a worker was dismissed after he or she got married or entered into a civil partnership
  • not offering a job to an applicant who has all the relevant experience and skills because she has just got married and the employer thinks she will be focused on starting a family, not her career
  • as a line manager and colleagues, ignoring a worker and leaving them out of work-related social activities resulting in an official complaint that their supervisor is discriminating against them because they are married

In 2012 a court ruled that financial settlements for a couple in same sex civil partnerships should be calculated on the same basis as for married couples (Lawrence v Gallagher, Court of Appeal, 2012).

Further information and support

  • to find out about organisations and services promoting equality in Hackney, visit the Hackney Directory or for health and social care-related services, visit Hackney iCare.
  • our marriage and civil partnership pages provide all the information you need to register a marriage or civil partnership in Hackney
  • Acas is an organization dedicated to preventing and resolving employment disputes, including claims of discrimination on the grounds of civil partnerships and marriage
  • Stonewall an organization campaigning for equality and justice for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people including advice on cases where discrimination is suspected on the grounds of same sex civil partnership
  • The Equality and Human Rights Commission has produced a guide to the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013
Page updated on: 4 July 2019