Bishop backs gay consent at 16

Click to follow
The Independent Online
The Bishop of Oxford, the Right Rev Richard Harries, has called for the age of consent for homosexuals to be lowered from 18 to 16.

Bishop Harries, chairman of the Church of England bishops' group on homosexuality and well known as a broadcaster and writer, told the Times: "The last time it came before Parliament, I supported an age of consent of 18. I have changed my mind. Before I took the view that between the ages of 16 and 18 a person's sexuality was still fluid and unformed, and that it was important for them to be given the chance to develop heterosexual relationships ... but recent evidence ... suggests people's sexuality is well formed by the age of 16.

"And even if there is still a doubt about it, the idea of prosecuting people of 17 for having sex really is very unproductive."

His intervention comes as Parliament prepares to debate the issue next spring. A free vote will be allowed.