Last edited: February 14, 2005

Victorian Laws Used to Prosecute Playwright Oscar Wilde Under Reform

British Laws that were Used to Prosecute Gay Playwright Oscar Wilde Are in the Process of Being Scrapped.

The Washington Blade, February 15, 2002

LONDON—According to The Independent, the Victorian indecency laws that were used to prosecute famously gay playwright Oscar Wilde are in the process of being revamped. The British government is currently reforming legislation against sexual offenses, and among the laws that will be repealed are those that outlaw men kissing in public as well as laws against homosexual behavior in private homes. The government will also repeal the "offence of buggery" as well as the crime of "soliciting for an immoral purpose," which only applied to men. Among the goals of the reform are to scrap any form of legal discrimination against gay men as well as to equalize the way in which the legal system deals with homosexuals and heterosexuals. Martin Bowley, the president of the Bar Lesbian & Gay Group, said the present laws are "anomalous and discriminatory, especially against gay men." The revamp of the laws follows a change in the age of consent to 16 as well as a failed attempt by the Labour Party to repeal Section 28, a law that forbids the promotion of homosexuality.

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