European Court Slams British Ban on Gay Group Sex
Reuters, July 31, 2000
STRASBOURG, France The European Court of Human Rights on Monday
ruled that a British ban on male group sex was illegal because it violated the right to
The court ruled against Britain in a suit lodged by a 52-year-old British homosexual
who was convicted of gross indecency four years ago after police found videos at his home
of group sex between himself and up to four other adult men.
The unnamed plaintiff argued that the conviction was an intrusion into his private life
as the sex, between consenting adults, had been performed at his home.
In its written judgment, the Strasbourg court ruled that the activity had been
genuinely private as the recordings were not intended to be made public.
It said the British law banning sex between more than two men, even if it is
consensual, and the plaintiffs conviction itself violated article eight of the
European Convention on Human Rights. The article guarantees the right to respect for
private and family life.
It awarded the plaintiff £20,929 ($31,300) in damages and £12,391 ($18,540) in costs.
The court did not rule on the plaintiffs argument that the law discriminated
against men as it did not ban group sex between women.