Discrimination against gays is to be policed by the new Equality and Human Rights Commission, according to reports.
The Government has decided to give gay people the same protection as that enjoyed by ethnic minorities and people with disabilities.
At present, homosexuals have no statutory body to represent them and must take a case to an employment tribunal if they feel they have been discriminated against on the grounds of their sexual orientation.
The new body – which is expected to have a budget of £50 million – will offer advice, support test cases and may even provide legal representation.
The commission is likely to be formally announced next month in the Queen’s speech, but will not come into operation until 2006.