Tag Archives: Queen Elizabeth II

Gay History – July 27, 1967: Queen Elizabeth II Formally Decriminalizes Homosexuality in the United Kingdom

On this day in July 1967,  just under 2 years before the Stonewall Riots in the United States – The Sexual Offences Act of 1967 received royal assent from Elizabeth II, decriminalizing private homosexual acts in England and Wales. The age of consent for homosexual acts was set at 21, compared to 16 for heterosexual acts.

In the 1960s, one MP, Leo Abse, and a peer, Lord Arran, put forward proposals to change the way in which criminal law treated homosexual men by means of the Sexual Offences Bill. This attempt to liberalise the law relating to male homosexuality can be placed in a context of the rising number of prosecutions of homosexual men.

In his 1965 Sexual Offences Bill, Lord Arran drew heavily upon the findings of the Wolfenden Report (1957) which recommended the decriminalization of certain homosexual offences.

The Wolfenden committee had been set up to investigate homosexuality and prostitution in the mid 1950s, and included on its panel a judge, a psychiatrist, an academic and various theologians. They came to the conclusion (with one dissenter) that criminal law could not credibly intervene in the private sexual affairs of consenting adults in the privacy of their homes. The position was summarized by the committee as follows: “unless a deliberate attempt be made by society through the agency of the law to equate the sphere of crime with that of sin, there must remain a realm of private that is in brief, not the law’s business” (Wolfenden Report, 1957).

There was no political impetus after the publication of the Wolfenden report to legislate on this matter, but by 1967 the Labour Government of the time showed support for Lord Arran’s mode of liberal thought. It was considered that criminal law should not penalise homosexual men, already the object of ridicule and derision. The comments of Roy Jenkins, Home Secretary at the time, captured the government’s attitude: “those who suffer from this disability carry a great weight of shame all their lives” (quoted during parliamentary debate by The Times on 4 July 1967).

The Bill received royal assent on July 27, 1967 after an intense late night debate in the House of Commons.

Lord Arran, in an attempt to minimize criticisms that the legislation would lead to further public debate and visibility of issues relating to homosexual civil rights made the following qualification to this “historic” milestone: “I ask those [homosexuals] to show their thanks by comporting themselves quietly and with dignity… any form of ostentatious behavior now or in the future or any form of public flaunting would be utterly distasteful… [And] make the sponsors of this bill regret that they had done what they had done” 

The Act applied only to England and Wales and did not cover the Merchant Navy or the Armed Forces

In 2000, the Parliament Acts 1911 and 1949 were invoked to ensure the passage of the Sexual Offences (Amendment) Act 2000 which equalized that age of consent at 16 for both homosexual and heterosexual acts throughout the United Kingdom.

Queen Elizabeth II Vows The UK Will Continue To Protect LGBT’s From Discrimination – VIDEO

Queen Elizabeth II promised that the United Kingdom will continue to fight against anti-gay discrimination during the Queen’s Speech today in front of Parliament.

“My government will make further progress to tackle the gender pay gap and discrimination against people on the basis of their race, faith, gender, disability or sexual orientation,” the Queen said. It is the first time that any mention of LGBTQ rights has been included in the Queen’s Speech.

While the inclusion may seem relatively minuscule and expected in the grand scheme of things, it comes at a time where it’s absolutely essential for the LGBT community of Britain. According to a new survey, nearly half of LGBTQ people that reside in London say that they are victims of a hate crime, while over 68% say that they worry about becoming victims in the future.

When also considering the political turmoil in the UK, including the threat of LGBT rights from more conservative political parties, the acknowledgement from an actual Queen and influential monarch that her government will fight for LGBT rights and anti-discrimination policies is all the more reassuring, and something that we should demand from other certain world leaders.

Watch the entire speech below.

 

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Oi! Queen Elizabeth II Gives Royal Assent – Gay Marriage Now Legal In Great Britian

Her LGBT Highness

Earlier this week the equal marriage bill for England and Wales once again been passed in the House of Commons. all amendments added in the House of Lords were accepted, it will not be required to go back to the Lords.

Queen Elizabeth II wasting no time gave her royal stamp of approval, clearing the way for the first same-sex weddings next summer.

The law enables gay couples to get married in both civil and religious ceremonies in England and Wales, provided that the religious institution consents. The Church of England, the country’s official faith, is barred from performing such ceremonies.

It also will allow couples who had previously entered into civil partnerships — which were introduced in 2005 and carry similar rights and responsibilities to marriage — to convert their relationships to marriage.

The queen’s approval was a formality and is the last step necessary for a bill to become law.

Congratulations to the LGBT Community of Great Britain!

This, now more than ever reinforces my belief that we would have been better off losing the Revolutionary War.

For All the Queens and Queen-lovers Amongst You

Right now, more than 1000 boats are forming part of a pageant to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II’s sixty years on the throne.

And thanks to Vogue, we have the gayest collection of Queeny photos you can imagine:

You can also visit the BBC’s news site to see the changing faces of the Queen during her reign.

The banks of the river Thames are currently packed with people hoping to catch sight of The Queen as she passes, to enjoy the sight of such a huge collection of boats, and to generally enjoy the atmosphere of celebration. Some avid monarchists even camped out over night to ensure they had a prime spot along the riverbanks.

The ‘flotilla’ of boats will pass under 14 road/foot/rail bridges on its journey down about 4 miles of the river, with the Queen and other members of the royal family aboard the Royal Barge, [over?] decorated for the occassion. The procession will culminate at the iconic Tower Bridge where the bridge’s bascules will be raised in salute.

For those of you less excited about the Jubilee celebrations, you might be more interested to note the anti-monarchy protests that are also happening by Tower Bridge. Chants of “we want democracy” are being met by boos from the royalists nearby.

Either way, I’m just happy to have an extra day off work on Tuesday and will be thoroughly enjoying this 4 day weekend that it has awarded us!

To find out more about the pageant, visit the official website. Otherwise, those of you in the UK, tune in to BBC1 right now to watch the procession live.