Rare Vintage 1957 Wolfenden Report On Homosexual Offences

Rare Vintage 1957 Wolfenden Report On Homosexual Offences

Code: 19569

£125.00 Approx $158.23, €145.86, £125
(1 in stock)
 

For sale is a Rare Original Vintage 1957 Wolfenden Report On Homosexual Offences. This publication was produced by the home office, Scottish home department titled “Report of the committee on homosexual offences and prostitution” published in 1957.

 
The Report of the Departmental Committee on Homosexual Offences and Prostitution (better known as the Wolfenden report, after Sir John Wolfenden, the chairman of the committee) was published in the United Kingdom on 4 September 1957 after a succession of well-known men, including Lord Montagu of Beaulieu, Michael Pitt-Rivers, John Gielgud, and Peter Wildeblood were convicted of homosexual offences.
 
The report's recommendations attracted considerable public debate, including a famous exchange of views in publications by Lord Devlin, a leading British judge, whose ideas and publications argued against the report's philosophical basis, and H. L. A. Hart, a leading jurisprudential scholar, who provided argument in its support.
 
In The Enforcement of Morals, Devlin states that the Wolfenden report "is recognized to be an excellent study of two very difficult legal and social problems". Devlin attacks the principle, derived from John Stuart Mill's On Liberty, that the law ought not concern itself with "private immorality", saying that the report "requires special circumstances to be shown to justify the intervention of the law. I think that this is wrong in principle". 
 
In late 1957, shortly after the report was published, the General Assembly of the Church of England, by a vote of 155 to 138, passed a resolution that this Assembly generally approves the principles on which the criminal law concerned with sexual behaviour should be based as stated by the Wolfenden Committee, and also its recommendations relating to homosexuality, but considers that the recommendations relating to prostitution require further study". 
The recommendations eventually led to the passage of the Sexual Offences Act 1967, applying to England and Wales only, that replaced the previous law on sodomy contained in the Offences against the Person Act 1861 and the 1885 Labouchere Amendment which outlawed every homosexual act short of sodomy. The Act did not become law until a decade after the report was published in 1957.
The historian Patrick Higgins has described a number of flaws with the report: "its failure to understand or appreciate (except in the most negative terms) the importance of the homosexual subculture". 
 
It later became known that Wolfenden's son Jeremy Wolfenden was gay. In 1997, John Wolfenden came 45th in the Pink Paper’s list of the “top 500 lesbian and gay heroes”
 
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