Sexual Offences Act 1967

The Bill received royal assent on 27 July 1967 after an intense late night debate in the House of Commons. It decriminalised homosexual acts in private between two men, both of whom had to have attained the age of 21. The Act applied only to England and Wales and did not cover the Merchant Navy or the Armed Forces. Homosexual acts were decriminalised in Scotland by the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 1980 and in Northern Ireland by the Homosexual Offences (Northern Ireland) Order 1982.

The age of consent of 21 for homosexual males set by the 1967 Act was reduced to 18 by the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994, and in 2000, the Parliament Acts 1911 and 1949 were invoked to ensure the passage of the Sexual Offences (Amendment) Act 2000 which equalised that age of consent at 16 for both homosexual and heterosexual behaviours throughout the UK.

Read the Sexual Offences Act 1967 .