The Equality Act has received royal assent, finally.
It had been hoped the major legislation would have been granted royal assent in time for it to be promulgated - announced - at Tynwald Day earlier this month, but some late technical amendments were required, which delayed its completion.
However, at this week’s Tynwald sitting, members were asked to sign off the bill, enabling it to become an act.
At the close of Tuesday’s session, President of Tynwald Steve Rodan announced the act had received royal assent.
The Equality Act aims to combat discrimination in the workplace and in the provision of goods and services, on various grounds including race, religion, sexual orientation, age, disability, and gender reassignment.
It started its passage for consideration under the last government and, among the late additions to the bill when it went before the House of Keys earlier this year, were the replacement of the word transsexual with transgender, as that could otherwise have restricted provisions to people who had undergone a medical procedure.
A new provision was also made for those who were ’asexual’, recognising those who have no sexual attraction to people of either sex.
Crucially, when the bill was drafted, same sex marriage and opposite sex civil partnerships had not been made legal. It has since been legalised and a number of amendments were made to incorporate that into the legislation.
The provisions of the act are expected to be phased in over a 24-month period.