“The Home Office Sex Offences reform proposals do not go far enough”, according to Peter Tatchell of OutRage!.
“All consenting, victimless sexual offences –homosexual and heterosexual– should be abolished, including the criminalisation of consensual adult pornography and sadomasochism.
“The law on the age of consent should take into account the fact that over 50 percent of young people have their first sexual experience before they are 16. Consenting sex involving partners under 16 should not be prosecuted, providing they are of similar ages and there is no evidence of pressure, manipulation or exploitation.”
While the proposed repeal of Victorian-era laws that discriminate against homosexuals is long overdue and most welcome, the Home Office recommendations ignore two aspects of homophobic discrimination. —
Under the Criminal Justice Act 1991, most consensual gay offences are defined as ‘serious’ sex crimes on a par with rape, indecent assault and child abuse. These victimless gay offences should be deleted from the 1991 Act.
The Sex Offenders Act 1997 classifies consenting gay relationships involving men in their late teens as child sex abuse, but the equivalent heterosexual behaviour is not even a crime.
A 20 year old man who has consenting gay sex with a man aged 17 is categorised as a pædophile and forced to sign the Sex Offenders’ Register. In contrast, a 19 year old heterosexual man who has unlawful sexual intercourse with a girl aged 13 does not have to sign the register. The Sex Offenders Act needs urgent amendment to end its anti-gay bias.