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[140]         Laws against homosexual people who were considered to commit the crime of sodomy (called in England and Wales ‘buggery,’ and referring to anal intercourse between two males) were first defined in the Buggery Act of 1533, during the reign of Henry VIII. Up until 1861 convicted criminals faced the death penalty.

    In 1957 the Wolfenden report pointed out that the function of Government’s laws is not to intervene

in the private life of citizens.

    Still, it took another 10 years for sexual acts between two adult males, to be made legal in England and Wales (while it was only made legal in Scotland in 1980 and in Northern Ireland in 1982.)


    The USA is trailing behind, seeing that only in 2003 anti-homosexual sodomy laws were invalidated by the U.S. Supreme Court decision Lawrence v. Texas.

    Curiously, Lesbian relationships were never deemed illegal. We can see here again the heavy mark of chauvinism: Heterosexual men were always aroused by the sight of women loving each other.

Should the government interfere?

John Smith and James Pratt, the last hanged for sodomy in Great Britain, in 1835, for: “feloniously, wickedly, diabolically, and against the order of nature, carnally … commit and perpetrate[d] the detestable, horrid, and abominable crime (among Christians not to be named) called buggery.”
Artist: unknown
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