Sexual Offences Act 1967: A Liberation in Reforms?

Wales since 1945

2017 marked the 50th anniversary of the Sexual Offences Act which partially decriminalised male homosexual activity in Wales and England. This liberated thousands of men and paved the way for equality. The act was introduced in a period driven by social change with the government taking a step backwards and providing people with more freedom in their private lives. This is exemplified with other reforms introduced during this period such as the Murder Act (1965) which abolished the death penalty, Abortion Act (1967) and the Divorce Reform Act (1969).

Over recent years, this act has come under scrutiny by historians and gay activists for not fully decriminalising homosexual activity and not achieving enough in terms of equality. However, whilst the legacy and impact of this legislation may not have transformed attitudes, it undoubtedly acts as a landmark for change.[1]

Sexual Offences Act 1967 Image taken from http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1967/60/pdfs/ukpga_19670060_en.pdf

Legislation prior to the Sexual…

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