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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The Act remained in force until its repeal in Palgrave Advances in the Modern History of Sexuality.

An disgrace | The Times

While sodomy had ceased to be a capital crime inthough still penalized by life imprisonment, lwbouchere Act broadened the definition of homosexual crime to include even consensual acts between adults in private, while reducing the penalty to two years opposed to the higher sentence imposed on acts often legally defined as attempted sodomy.

Masculinity and Male Homosexuality in Britian, New Haven and London, Henry Labourchere, the Liberal-Radical M. The Buggery Act of remained the basis for legislation until There was little in the legal framework to suggest that the legislature purposively constructed a homosexual category. Law of England and Wales portal Criminal justice portal.

Labouchere Amendment – Pride Matters

Labouchere was concerned with a supposed rise in male homosexual and extra-marital sexual activity. The death penalty was replaced with imprisonment for between ten years and life, whilst attempted sodomy or any amedment assault upon any male person carried a sentence of between three amendemnt ten years imprisonment or up to two years with hard labour.

Lawyers dubbed section 11 of the Criminal Law Amendment Actthe “blackmailer’s charter”. It was this Act which included the infamous Lebouchere Amendment. Home Offices dossiers of sentencing policies for bestiality and sodomy between men were some of the first to be closed using the Official Secrets Acts inalong with foreign and military secrets.


The charge against Queensberry was urged by Queensberry’s son Lord Alfred Douglaswho reluctantly fled to France at the time to avoid possible arrest. He was editor of a weekly paper, Truth, a nineteenth-century version of Private Eye, like which he was much involved in suits for libel.

An 1885 disgrace

Eder, Lesley Hall and Gert Hekma. The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography says: The labouchers was symptomatic of confusion rather than intentionality in the making of laws on sex in England, and raises the key question of whose will this law but also other laws enshrined.

Further offenses were added to the Act in and sodomy was dealt with a new unnatural offenses subsection. This was later defined by the courts to include only anal penetration and bestiality. Britain ended up with a proscription amenddment far beyond anything else in any other country at the time.

London and the Culture of Homosexuality, The late Victorian administrations largely succeeded in this aim, as amendmenh bulk of this historically important material does not even appear, even in recent historiography.

Alternations to this legislation in the nineteenth century certainly widened its scope to establish in law that all sexual acts between men were criminal. Also, the Codes Napoleon were adopted by Italy in Any male purpose who, in public or private, commits, or is a party to the commission of, or procures or attempts to procure the amendjent by any male person of, any act of gross indecency with another male person, shall be guilty of a misdemeanour, and being convicted ajendment, shall be liable, at the discretion of the court, to be imprisoned for any term not exceeding one year with or without hard labour.

He had therefore provided the means by which Parliament armed the guardians of public morality with full powers to deal with this offence. Its principal provision was the raising of the age of consent for young girls from thirteen to sixteen. Latest comments Forum posts: Speaker Arthur Peel responded that under procedural rules any amendment was permitted as long as Parliament permitted it. Nor did it replace or supersede the Buggery laws as the basis of legislation.


The secrecy surrounding this material is indicative of the imperative to keep the discussion of sexuality between men out of the public domain, utilizing the rarely implemented one hundred year rule. Section 11 of the Criminal Law Amendment Actcommonly known as the Labouchere Amendmentlabouchdre ” gross indecency ” a crime in the United Kingdom.

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. It is arguable that this legislation, inlabojchere the first English law amendmebt distinguish a class of men who sex with other men. However, fellatiomasturbationand other acts of non-penetration remained lawful. Legislation Tuesday 21 March By the Criminal Law Amendment Act ofhomosexual acts of gross indecency not amedment to buggery, which had hitherto not been regarded as a crime at all, were made aendment to amnedment maximum of two years in imprisonment with hard labour.

Inhowever, Parliament passed an act to protect women and young girls from being victimized and to suppress female brothels, and on to this was tacked at the last moment an amendment which made gross indecency between adult males a misdemeanour punishable by two years in prison hard labour. The Offences Against the Person Act offinally removed the capital charge for sodomy.

This amendment outlawed male homosexual activity, while ignoring lesbian activity. It consolidated provisions related to offences lanouchere the person an expression which, in particular, includes offences of violence from a number of earlier statutes into a single Act.

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