2016 Conspiracy to corrupt public morals and the ‘unlawful’ status of homosexuality in Britain after 1967

Although contentious, English law has a long history of the common law offence of conspiring to subvert public morality. It was a charge mostly used against obscenity, arranging prostitution, maintaining an unruly home, public immorality, and mischief in public. The court might view these as components of a single crime called conspiracy to subvert public morals. The prosecution of IT was predicated on the legal precept that some types of “outrageously immoral” behavior were damaging public morals, regardless of whether such conduct was lawful or not. This idea classified homosexuality in men as an “unlawful” or “wrongful” act under the law. In that regard, homosexuality between men remained illegal even after it was decriminalized in 1967.