26 FEBRUARY 1954, Page 5

4 °Yal Commission on Homosexuality ? Homosexuality is today what venereal

disease was some decades ago, a forbidden subject which is forcing itself into discussion and becoming the subject of widespread public anxiety. Is homosexuality an illness or a crime ? Can it be cured or should it be punished ? Should the law take cog- nisance of a private act between consenting parties ? Why should homosexual acts between males be punished when com- Parable acts between females go free, and when the worst Kind of home-breaking adultery, is unregarded by the criminal law 9 a • In brief—are our laws about homosexuality balanced and humane ? These are the kind of questions which are being that asked. As to the law, it is a matter of historic fact between Labouchere's amendment concerning gross indecency .etween males, which stands part of the Criminal Law Amend- in.sent Act of 1885, was one of the least well-considered changes 1„L' the criminal law ever to reach the Statute Book, and it is 'Motions that its operation, and that of the Offences Against the Person Act 1861, abounds in dangerous anomalies. The case for a Royal Commission to enquire into the whole subject Ie„Proposed by Sir Robert Boothby, is a strong one, and neither ZargY nor obscurantism—nor the unreasoning prejudice allowed the subject conjures up in some quarters—should be ,....owed to stand in its way. Meanwhile all who are interested "414 read with advantage an admirably calm and informative l'ahniPhlet The Problem of Homosexuality, produced for the Private of England Moral Welfare Council and issued for Church circulation at 2s. 6d. It is obtainable from Room 251B, '-nutch House, Deans Yard, Westminster, S.W.1.