Recent statutory and policy changes have raised the profile of lesbian, gay and bisexual equalities initiatives in the local government arena. These initiatives are increasingly developed and delivered via inter-agency partnerships. This article applies concepts from the sociological branch of new institutionalism to the field of sexualities equalities partnership work in local government, drawing on findings from a large empirical project. Notions of norms, ritual, templates and isomorphism all have purchase in this sensitive, value-laden field, providing insight into the organizational dynamics associated with inter-agency and partnership working. The article introduces the notion of institutional hybridization as a means of understanding the collaborative, and sometimes conflicting, processes associated with governance in the field of sexualities equalities work.