The 1967 Sexual Offences Act decriminalised sexual acts between men in private. It received Royal Assent 50 years ago today.
The comments made during the parliamentary debate on the 1967 act before shows how far attitudes towards LGBT people had to come.
Even Roy Jenkins, the liberal home secretary lauded for pushing the reform, told parliament homosexuality was a “grave disability” that leaves people carrying “a great weight of loneliness, guilt and shame” and renders them unable to find “a stable and lasting emotional relationship”.
The 1967 decriminalisation was only partial. Scotland and Northern Ireland didn’t follow until the 1980s. Anal sex remained illegal until 1994 in England and Wales and was only completely decriminalised in 2003.
It wasn’t until 2013 that the acts between consenting adults was decriminalised across the UK, LGBT rights Peter Tatchell has noted.