Letter: The age of homosexual consent: equality or boundary?

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Sir: Ever since the partial decriminalisation of male homosexuality in 1967, Parliament has consistently refused to repeal laws which discriminate against lesbians and gay men. During the last 27 years, there has not been a single instance of significant homosexual law reform.

Now, when given the opportunity to ensure the age of consent for homosexuals is the same as

for heterosexuals, many MPs remain unwilling to accept the principle that everyone should be treated equally by the law. Some of these MPs are hoping to salve their consciences by voting for a compromise of 18. However, that would merely perpetuate inequality; leaving 16- and 17-year-old gay men, and their partners, vulnerable to continued legal persecution.

It would be better for MPs to retain the honest homophobia of an age of consent of 21 than to agree to a compromise that masquerades as a liberalisation while reinforcing discrimination. The only law reform worth having is full legal equality.

Yours faithfully,



London, W1

16 February