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Same-sex marriage was legalised in England, Wales and Scotland in 2014, but remains unavailable in Northern Ireland where it is recognised solely as a civil partnership.Today, LGBT citizens have most of the same legal rights as non-LGBT citizens and the UK provides one of the highest degrees of liberty in the world for its LGBT communities.In 2000, Her Majesty's Armed Forces removed its ban on LGBT individuals serving openly.The age of consent was equalised, regardless of sexual orientation, in 2001 at 16 in England, Scotland, and Wales.The age of consent was lowered to 16 in Northern Ireland in 2009, previously it was 17 regardless of sexual orientation.
It recommended that "homosexual behaviour between consenting adults in private should no longer be a criminal offence," finding that "homosexuality cannot legitimately be regarded as a disease, because in many cases it is the only symptom and is compatible with full mental health in other respects." In October 1957, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Geoffrey Fisher, spoke in support of the Wolfenden Report, saying that "There is a sacred realm of privacy...
LGBT rights first came to prominence following the decriminalisation of sexual activity between men, in 1967 in England and Wales, and later in Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Sexual activity between women was never subject to the same legal restriction.
The Labouchere Amendment, section 11 of the Criminal Law Amendment Act 1885, extended the laws regarding homosexuality to include any kind of sexual activity between males.
Oscar Wilde was convicted under this law and sentenced to 2 years of penal labour.
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The Act was the country's first civil sodomy law; such offences having previously been dealt with by the ecclesiastical courts.