On 1 May 2019, the Census (Return Particulars and Removal of Penalties) Bill had its first reading in the House of Lords.
The Bill will amend the Census Act (Northern Ireland) 1969 to add sexual orientation and gender identity to the Schedule as matters on which questions may be asked in the census and to remove the penalty for not responding to these questions, if asked. The Registrar General’s 2021 Census Proposals Document published on 3 April 2019 sets out plans for the next census in Northern Ireland. It is proposed that a question on sexual orientation is asked for the first time in the 2021 Census and this legislation will ensure that this question would be answered on a voluntary basis.
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