British Lawmakers to Repeal Gay Sex Laws
PlanetOut.com Network, January 29, 2002
SUMMARY: Laws that criminalize gay sexual behavior—including the
Victorian ones used to prosecute Oscar Wilde over 100 years ago—will be
repealed by the British government.
Laws that criminalize gay sexual behavior—including the Victorian ones
used to prosecute Oscar Wilde over 100 years ago—will be repealed by the
British government, according to the Independent newspaper.
The overhaul of several sexual offense laws is reportedly designed to stop
legal discrimination against gay men and put them on equal footing with
heterosexuals with regard to the criminal justice system.
The newspaper stated that government ministers are preparing to scrap the
offense of "gross indecency," which targets gay men and was used
against Wilde in 1895. In addition, offenses for "buggery" and
"soliciting for an immoral purpose"—which reportedly only applies
to men—will be repealed.
The revisions will take effect with the new Sexual Offenses Act, which is
also expected to reform rape laws, said the Independent.
Martin Bowley, president of the Bar Gay and Lesbian Group, told the
newspaper that existing British laws are "anomalous and discriminatory,
especially against gay men."