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Criminalization of Homosexuality in England, Wales, and Scotland

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Table of contents

  1. Introduction
  2. England and Wales Law on Homosexuality
  3. Scotland Law on Homosexuality
  4. Development of Homosexual Laws in England, Wales & Scotland
  5. England & Wales
  6. Real Case Example of Homosexuality
  7. The Impact of Law on Gender or Sexual Identity in England & Wales and Scotland
  8. Public Impact
    Psychological Impact
  9. Ideological Role of Law in England & Wales and Scotland
  10. Current changes in the Area of Law in England & Wales and Scotland
  11. Conclusion


This assignment will focus on the laws of homosexuality in England and Wales and Scotland. This assignment also highlights the gender and sexual identity equality in every case and support these laws by the ideological role of humanity. The ideological role supports the social and political aspects of humanity.

After that, the law of Human Right Acts supports the issues and debates of the gender and sexual identity equality by fairness, dignity, justice, respect and equality. Furthermore, this assignment will focus on the fundamental rights of human acts and implies that every person should get dignity and respect in every situation. This assignment will further discuss that no matter what, every person has a right to live their live on their own perspective. However, the act of homosexuality is not supported by the law, and it is consider as a crime in United Kingdom but apart from this, all the gender and sexual identities should get respect and better life within the country.

England and Wales Law on Homosexuality

Homosexuality Law in England and Wales lies under the Sexual Offences Act 1967. The Sexual Offence Act 1967 contains some new sections and the amendments in the Sexual Offence Act 1956.

Under the Sexual Offences Act 1967, homosexual activity is not offensive if the act is done in private and the subjects have attained the age of twenty-one years. But If the act is done in private but more than two people, or the act is done in public lavatory, this Act shall not be treated so (Roberts, 2015). The Act does not give any consent to the person suffering from the mental disorder, or it is the member of Army, Air force or Naval staff. Notifying the buggery this Act will not be offensive even if the act is done in private (Roberts, 2015).

The maximum punishment with a man over the age of sixteen years is not more than ten years if consent is not given otherwise it will be five years if the other man is underage of twenty-one years otherwise it will be two years. Under this Act, if the man will not be liable to the offence if he influence another man to commit the buggery and his punishment will not exceed two years (Colledge et al., 2015). This Act further explains that a man or woman lives on the earnings of the prostitution will be imprisoned for six months on summary conviction and seven years on conviction.

Moreover, with reference to the [Dudgeon v. the United Kingdom], it has been stated that in 1981, that it is considered as a criminal act to live and make sexual relationships in private with the same gender. The people who will involve in this kind of relationship will get punishment according to the ‘European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) case’ which held by section 11.

Scotland Law on Homosexuality

Homosexuality in Scotland became legal under the Criminal Justice Act 1980, under the Criminal Act 1980 (Scotland) the act of homosexuality is not offensive if the subjects have attained the age of twenty-one years and act done is in private. More than two participants are restricted under this Act either in public or private. The hospital staff or the persons having the responsibility of any patient are prohibited from this act (Durbin et al., 2017).

According to this Act, a person who commits or is supportive to the commission shall be imprisoned for a period of two years or will be fine or both (Colledge et al., 2015). The period of imprisonment shall be three months on a summary of conviction. If a person is living partially or entirely on the earnings of the male prostitution, he will be imprisoned for six months on summary conviction and two years on conviction (Roberts, 2015).

Development of Homosexual Laws in England, Wales & Scotland

England & Wales

In 1950 a group of people in England and Wales formed a recommendation for the change in law for homosexuality, but it was not effective at that time. After some time in 1956, the law changed and allowed to live two men in a relationship without any fear. But there were some cases observed where the man got arrested for the act (Cotter, 2016).

Thus the law changed with some amendments and became a part of the Sexual Offence Act 1967. Since then in 1988 a law called section 28 was introduced that allowed teachers to promote homosexual relations in school but was not allowed at that time. In 2000 the law was changed, and homosexuals were allowed to join the army then in 2002 they were allowed to adopt the children. In 2003 law allowed them to promote homosexuality in school. The similar rights were given to them as were to married persons. Finally, in 2013 gay marriages become legalised and now these people are allowed to enjoy the same fundamental rights in the UK as ordinary people have.


Homosexuality in Scotland was illegal before 1980 even the England and Wales legalised it in 1967. Same-sex contact in women was never illegal in Scotland; it was the man who was not allowed to do so. In Sexual Offence Act 1967, Scotland along with north Ireland was excluded (Awaad and Seleem, 2016).

It has been just fourteen years this law is legalised in Scotland. The revolution for homosexuality was started when a group of people decided to leave Scotland when they were not allowed to remain in a relationship. The SMGs (Scottish Minorities Group) arranged discos in Scotland and kept homosexual people together. SMG elaborated it further and formed the Gay Information Centre for helping the gays. Thirteen years after this struggle MP Robin Cook lodged an amendment and the homosexuality became legalised in 1980.

Nevertheless, Scotland faced many problems since then as the 60 percent of drugs addicted people were found HIV patients and Scotland was labelled as HIV capital of Europe. After this many people went against homosexuality, Margaret Thatcher government went to war against the gay community. Section 28 of the Local Government Act 1988 prohibited homosexuality in schools. But the people in support were even stronger, and in 2005 the civil partners were allowed for being gay couples. Earlier 2017 Scotland was named as the best country in providing equal rights for homosexuals.


The laws for homosexuality in Scotland and England & Wales are almost the same; there are some minute differences like:

  • Since in Scotland it was considered that women do not have homo relations, the law in Scotland noted the man only whereas in England and Wales law both men and women were mentioned.
  • The punishment for living on the earnings of a prostitute is also different under both laws. In Scotland its two years on conviction and in England & Wales law its seven years on conviction.

Real Case Example of Homosexuality

In year 1967, two men had a sex with each other and when this thing get into the society, the people start criticising these two just because of they both are men. After this situation, the court take this thing into notice and after all the things has been done it was decide that homosexuality after the age of 21 is legal throughout in the England and Wales.

After so many cases of the homosexuality when the homosexuality is banned, it has been observed that the crimes of the homosexuality is increasing day by day and people start doing this act forcefully in the society. There are lot of cases which has been proved that the homosexuality is making its place in the society forcefully.

One of the oft-quoted examples of a criminalized homosexual relationship has been the Grey and Grey relationship in England, where one of the partners was 80+ years. This was a civil partnership that was kept top secret but released to a newsman at the condition of confidentiality and privacy. This is an example of a union that the Homosexual Law Reform Society sought to protect and safeguard in the law from being proscribed and defined within the criminal context. In a classic illustration of their guilt, they are reported to have rushed to make the bed when they head that a vehicle had rammed into their compound, thinking that they were being investigated by the agencies. That means the act of homosexuality or any associations that are homosexuality are indeed criminal.

The real-life scenario as described has been captured in different statutory provisions in Wales and England such as presented by the Home Office Policy Advisory Committee. However, those proposing changes to the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act of 1994 as well as the Sexual Offences Act of 2000 suggests that the age for consent ion homosexual partners should be set at 18 years (Part V PART, V., Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994).

In this scenario, however, Grey was 89 years and the partner was less than 50 years, meaning that it was not criminal for the two despite that there was still so much scrutiny on people engaging in the act. All similar cases are dealt with under the provisions of the amended Sexual Offences Act of 2003 which gives power and discretion to the courts, the police, and other home office departments on elements associated with indecency, buggery, and gross violation of laws set out in the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994.

The Impact of Law on Gender or Sexual Identity in England & Wales and Scotland

Sexual identity refers to the way man and woman show their emotional, romantic and sexual attractions. It also refers to a sense of identity-based on such attractions and behaviour and membership of membership in a community of others having the same attractions.The homosexual acts in England & Wales and Scotland has changed the mentality of people in the area.

Public Impact

Before these laws, homosexual people were not allowed to show their feelings in public but now they cannot only express their feelings but also participate in the public events for the homosexuals.

Psychological Impact

Before the laws for homosexuality, ordinary people kept themselves away from the homosexuals that created hatred in homosexuals against the public. After these laws, they are allowed to express their feelings.

Foucault and feminism are two concepts which always strongly supports the laws which are related to gender and sexuality in England & Wales and Scotland (Collective, 2018). Foucault means power is anything like human beings have complete right to do whatever they want. Apart from this, feminism is a range of ideological, social and political movements that share a mutual objective for the rights of women and highlights that women are equal to the men in the society.

Today our world is running in the 21st century, and accordingly, there are so many laws that affect the many aspects of the human lives whether they are men or women (Beattie, 2018). These laws which are on the gender equality impacts on the gender in such a healthy way in which people can easily access all the resources and rights, avail all the political, civil and social rights, act as a free and do whatever they want but it should be right and live like independent agents in the society.

Sexual identity in England & Wales and Scotland is such a large area which covers the rights of all ‘Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT)’, the thing is that whether the person is formed any of the areas of LGBT, they should be respected and should get all the equal rights. Highlighting the legal issue related to gender identity and sexual orientation in England and Wales, this area of problems are commonly discussed into the society and fall into the same group of the category. This category is linked with the multiple laws which include employment law, family law, tax law, juvenile law, health law, immigration law, and many others. These all the laws impact the sexual identity in a way that these group of people feels that they are also the part of the nation and they are getting each and every right.

Moreover, the idea of ‘Foucault’ acts strongly in the area in which all the laws impact gender and sexual identity. This refers to that everyone has power and the right to live with the rights of citizenship and avail all the equal rights. These laws also impact the gender in a way in which people gets an equal living, social, cultural, political and civil rights, whether they belong from any of the gender or sexuality (Durbin et al., 2017).

The idea which is related to feminism is most commonly used for the women, which highlights that women have equal right for everything and especially they can do study and jobs as well. Moreover, with reference to the [English v Thomas Sanderson Blinds], it has been stated that sexual orientation judgement regulation has been supported in the United Kingdom since 2003. Under the ‘Equality Act 2010’ this law has been designed to protect the rights of the LGBT group. This law supports the right of employment, education, justice, immigration, tax and many more. However, it also has been stated that ‘Gender reassignment’ is a separately protected right under the act of equality 2010, which means that every transgender group or individual will also get protection in the workplace.

Ideological Role of Law in England & Wales and Scotland

Ideology is an assemblage of values and normative beliefs that are holed by any of the group or individual. The term of ‘Ideology’ is primarily used in England & Wales and Scotland to define a structure of ideas which forms the concept of political and economic policies and theories (Durbin et al., 2017).

Ideology works in a way like it helps to make an explanation of how unjust and unsocial relations are maintained in a society. More precisely, the concept of ideology works to explain the social and economic inequalities in the societies and carry out the ideological solutions for that on the basis of law and justice. The working of ideology is encounter in the condition in which all the unjust and unequal social and economic relations seem to be regular and routine and difficult to challenge.

Moreover, ideologies are ideas whose determination is not analysing the procedures and principles of inquiry but to analyse all the social and political issues with the country. As mentioned above that ideological law tend to deal with all the social and political issues in a way to carry out a positive result. So, the laws on the issue of gender and sexual identity can also be dealing with the concept of ideology (Lloyd, 2018). Ideologies are planned to move towards the sound and peaceful society. The principle of ideologies supports the element of which imposes liberty, distortion, myth, equality in gender and sexual identification. All the motives of the ideology are clearly set out in the ‘Declaration of Rights of Humanity and citizen’. It is not an issue, whether the person is from any of the LGBT group, society should have to see the whole nation as one in the same pride.

However, for achieving a peaceful, dominant and pleasant society, it is necessary to deal with all the laws of gender and sexual identity in an ideological way. It is also necessary to give a material condition of life to every of the person and should give them every ideological right of designed law whether the law is related to immigration, employment, tax, education and whatever. If a person is lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, it is their own choice; no one has a right to impose anything on the people.

They can live and carry their life in a way in which they want. This is the concept of ideology to give everyone every sort of ideological right. Moreover, with reference to the [Goodwin v. the United Kingdom], it has been stated that the applicant should get all the social and political right at the workplace and at the educational places, whether the applicant is from any of the genders they can get respect in every situation. However, a person should get a right to marry anyone they want without any restrictions and problems.

Current changes in the Area of Law in England & Wales and Scotland

In today world, “Human Rights” is one of the most recent and updated issue in England & Wales and Scotland. Human rights are believed and conditions which belong to every person in the country. Human rights should be equal for the LGBT group. In general, human rights are the elementary rights of freedom that are designed for every person from the time of their birth until death. These fundamental rights are based entirely on the shared values for every person like fairness, equality in gender, dignity, respect and independence for every gender. These value of human rights are protected and defined by the law. Moreover, the ‘Human Rights Act’ is a law of the United Kingdom which was passed in the year 1998. This law is designed to defend the rights of people of every gender in the courts of the United Kingdom and compels public organisations (Durbin et al., 2017).

As mentioned above that England has a law that to treat every person from LGBT group in the same way and treat them on the basis of equality, and these all the laws supports the law of ‘Human Rights Act’. The Human Rights Act impacts every area of law by carrying out the fairness, justice, equality, respect and dignity for every person whether they belong from any of the genders. The Human Rights Act protects the rights of the people of every gender and implements these rights for every rich, poor, young, old, black and white.

There may be many situations, debates and issues which give increase to the fight between equal rights for every gender and another type of rights. When fundamental rights of human conflicts this can rise to the serious problem on the basis of constitutional and the law of human rights. These raising issue can overall lead to the weakness of the system of ‘Liberal Democracy’. Conflicts of rights between different genders raise when there is no possible solution of ‘Competing rights’ (Durbin et al., 2017).

These debates and issues many includes that in which some people argue that it is not right to give the employment and educational seat to transgender, and usually people make fun of them. So, the Human Right Act, give a solution for this by uniting every person on the same platform and give respect to every gender. This can easily remove the conflicts between the people of different genders.


This assignment has been concluded, that in England and Wales the act of homosexuality is not offensive and cannot be done in private before the age of twenty-one years, but it is legal in Scotland. In Scotland, the act of homosexuality is not considered offensive and is legal. This act should be done either in private or in public as well. Moreover, sexual identity refers to the emotional and romantic sexual attraction of the two people towards each other, and it is allowed to respect every sexual and gender identification.

The concept of Foucault and feminism are also playing their extensive role over here which highlights that people have the power to deal with anything they want and women should get all the equal rights. There are so many laws which are supported by the ideological role of justice. This ideological role highlights the norms and beliefs of the person and support all the law and carry out equal results and solution on the basis of social and political aspects.

For supporting the ideological role of law for the equality of gender the ‘Human Right Acts’ playing the vital role over here, which highlights the fairness, respect, dignity and justice for everyone.

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Criminalization Of Homosexuality In England, Wales, And Scotland. (2022, April 08). GradesFixer. Retrieved March 25, 2023, from
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