LABOUCHERE’S AMENDMENT TO THE CRIMINAL. LAW AMENDMENT BILL. THE 1 lth clause of the Criminal Law Amendments Act (48 & 49 Vic. cap. The Labouchere Amendment to the Criminal Law Amendment Act in the United Kingdom was named after the Member of Parliament who introduced it to . In the Victorian era, common wisdom held that women were passive, sexually innocent beings who did not initiate sexual contact, while men possessed a lustful.

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Most famously, Oscar Wilde was convicted under section 11 and sentenced to two years’ hard labourand Alan Turing was convicted under it and sentenced to oestrogen injections chemical castration as an alternative to prison.

Law of England and Wales portal Criminal justice portal. This change expanded the definition of a homosexual act while at the same time making it easier for the prosecution of homosexuality.

The first of these changed the requirements of evidence in sodomy trials from penetration and emission in the body to penetration only.

As a result of the vagueness of the labouchefe “gross indecency,” this law allowed juries, judges and lawyers to prosecute virtually oabouchere male homosexual behaviour. London and New York, However, since there was no actual witness of any such act nor evidence of semen on their posterior regions, the charges were dropped.

London and the Culture of Homosexuality, He argued for the Grecian pederastyand claimed that the modern era could rethink its values. Part of the common law series. This chapter, instead, analyses the conflict, chaos and ambivalence that existed amongst ministers and administrators at the Home Office in the late nineteenth century, in respect to control and punishment of sex between men.

It remained a capital offence until the beginning of the nineteenth century, when the death penalty was abolished for this as lwbouchere many other offences at the instigation of Sir Laboichere Peel, then Home Secretary.

Labouchere Amendment

The general public, or at least significant sections of urban dwellers demonstrated, throughout the second half of the nineteenth century, a well-developed and tacit understanding of the guises and location of this sexuality.


They were charged with conspiracy to commit sodomy with Lord Arthur Pelham-Clintonwho died probably of suicide later that year and who was the third son of the Henry Pelham-Clinton, 5th Duke of Newcastle.

The specific purpose of the Criminal Law Amendment Act had been effective prosecution of the prepetrators of the widely publicised scandal involving the prostitutionof young girls.

This ambivalence in the legal definitions up to defiles the medico-legal analysis of a purposive, legislative categorization of the homosexual. It was used to keep government information closed mainly foreign and military secrets, but also any information chosen by the government. Although historians have described homosexual offences before, the question of what forms of behaviour actually constituted a crime at the beginning of the nineteen century is still relatively unclear.

Also, the infamous Criminal Law Amendment of simply made all sex acts between all males criminal, rather than indicating any kind of special legal classification. Basingstoke England and New York, The Act had removed the capital indictment for sodomy, but retained the archaic Buggery Act of as the basis for legislation.

Labouchere Amendment – Pride Matters

The Act remained in force until its repeal in Harper Collins Publishers Inc. The Buggery Actduring the time of Henry VIIIcodified sodomy into secular law as “the detestable and abominable vice of buggery “.

The legislation accommodated the sexual lifestyles of men who, as long as they conducted their various and consenting sexual acts in private and the sexual encounter numbered no more than two persons, would not be prosecuted. The introduction of Clause 11 in did ensure a catch-all of sexual acts between males.

Another series of dossiers, containing material about prosecution of sex between men relating to the late s, s and the s, but compiled between andwere finally closed using the one hundred year rule in Turing was pardoned posthumously by Queen Elizabeth II in In it was re-enacted in the Offenses Against the Person Act, a piece of legislation which covered murder, abortion, rape, and sex with girls under twelve.

Weeks, Cohen and others regard changes in British legislation, particularly the Labouchere Amendment to the Criminal Law Amendment Act, as the classification and categorization of a homosexual species in legal arrangements. The penalty of life imprisonment for sodomy until it had been death was also so harsh that successful prosecutions were rare.


Instead of prison, he opted for hormone “therapy” for one year, which has been likened to male castration. Its principal provision was the raising of the age of consent for young girls from thirteen to sixteen. Calling it Uranian love, he even considered it to be a higher form of love than common heterosexual love.

This clause, poet Symonds noticed, served essentially as a conspiracy charge, allowing for a broader pool of convictions. A number committed suicide.

With this legislation acts of gross indencency between males whether committed in public or private was a misdemeanour and was liable to imprisonment for up two years. In comparison, Continental states appeared to tolerate a burgeoning scientific discourse on the matter. Porter, Roy and Lesley Hall.

An 1885 disgrace

The Act defined buggery as an unnatural sexual act against the will of God and man. The increase of amnedment monsters in the shape of men, commonly designated margeries, poofs etc. Hall, Sexual cultures in Britain: In the first of these, a temporary measure passed inbuggery with man or beast became a capital offense.

He justified his clause by arguing that beforethe law was insufficient to deal with it, because the offence had to be proved by an accessory, and many other offences very much of the same nature were not regarded as crimes at all.

It was under his amendment that ten years later Wilde was to be convicted. By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. One amendmrnt questioned whether Labouchere’s amendment had anything to do with the original intent of the bill – sex crimes relating to young women and prostitution.

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