U.K. May Overhaul Sex Laws
November 21, 2002 http://www.advocate.com/new_news.asp?id=7006&sd=11/21/02
British prime minister Tony Blair’s government on Tuesday proposed an
overhaul of the U.K.’s Victorian-era sex offense laws, urging parliament to
repeal remaining laws against gay male sex. "The law on sexual offenses
is archaic and incoherent," home secretary David Blunkett told the House
of Commons, saying that the last remaining major sex offense act, passed 46
years ago, is primarily a consolidation of 19th-century law.
The government has proposed getting rid of the offenses of sodomy,
solicitation by men, and gross indecency—the crime of which Irish-born
writer Oscar Wilde was convicted in the 1890s, a scandal that ruined him.
"Criminalizing acts between homosexuals that are not against the law for
heterosexuals goes against the principle of equality," Blunkett said. The
process of repealing those laws in the United Kingdom began in 1967, and Sacha
Deshmukh of the gay rights group Stonewall said that Blunkett’s proposals
would complete that process. "The changes are long overdue,"