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Marriage and Civil Partnership

4. Marriage and Civil Partnership

Last Updated: August 2020

According to the Equality Act 2010, marriage and civil partnership discrimination is when someone is treated differently because they are married, or in a civil partnership. Discrimination does not have to be intentional to be unlawful, however in some cases being treated differently due to marital status is lawful – further information on these lawful exceptions can be found on the Equality and Human Rights Commission website.

In the Equality Act 2010, marriage and civil partnership means someone who is legally married or in a civil partnership. Marriage can either be between a man and a woman, or between partners of the same sex. Marriage equality has been in place in England, Wales and Scotland since 2014 and in Northern Ireland since 2020. This enables both same sex couples and binary gender couples to marry. According to the Equality Act 2010, civil partnership is between partners of the same sex. Since December 2019 same sex and binary gender couples have been able to register a civil partnership in England and Wales. 

People do not have this characteristic if they are:

  • Single;
  • Living with someone as a couple neither married nor civil partners;
  • Engaged to be married but not married;
  • Divorced or a person whose civil partnership has been dissolved.

There are different forms of marriage and civil partnership discrimination including direct discrimination, indirect discrimination, and victimisation.

At SVC, we are committed to promoting and developing equality, diversity and inclusion in our actions, projects, and practices.

  1. Our Equal Opportunities 2020 policy outlines that marriage and civil partnership  discrimination is unlawful. Please read the policy for more information;
  2. Anyone involved in SVC is encouraged to report any form of marriage and civil partnership discrimination to SVC staff, SVC Board of Trustees, or the HR department at Innovate Trust. Please read our Problem Solving Procedure 2020 for more information;
  3. SVC commits to promoting volunteering opportunities widely in order to recruit a more representative demographic of volunteers;
  4. SVC pledges to be a family friendly workplace – SVC staff will be able to apply to work flexibly, will be entitled to parental leave (following a year in service), and entitled to paternity leave (please see full Paternity Leave Policy at Innovate Trust), shared parental and adoption leave;
  5. SVC will ensure that our staff terms and conditions of employment, including contractual benefits, do not generally disadvantage or exclude people because they are married or have a civil partner;
  6. SVC will ensure that terms and conditions and benefits given to opposite-sex married employees and their spouses, same-sex married employees and their spouses, non-binary married employees and their spouses, and civil partnered employees and their partners will be equal;
  7. Please see SVC’s Equality Diversity and Inclusion Statement and Commitments page for more commitments.  


ACAS Website (2020) Marriage and Civil Partnerships. Available at:

House of Commons Library (2020) Civil Partnership for Opposite Sex Couples. Available at:

Equality Human Rights Website (2020) Marriage and Civil Rights Discrimination. Available at:

Innovate Trust – Equal Opportunity Policy.

SVC’s Policies and Procedures (2020) Equal Opportunities Policy. Available at: