Criminal Law Amendment Act 1885

The Criminal Law Amendment Act 1885 was originally “an Act to make further provision for the Protection of Women and Girls, the suppression of brothels, and other purposes”, but a last minute amendment tabled by Henry Labouchere, Liberal MP for Northampton, commonly known as the Labouchere Amendment, made “gross indecency” a crime in the United Kingdom. In practice, the law was used broadly to prosecute male homosexuals where actual sodomy could not be proven. The penalty of life imprisonment for sodomy (until 1861 it had been death) was also so harsh that successful prosecutions were rare.