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Gay Activist is sad to note the passing of Sir Christopher Chataway, the famous athlete, businessman, politician and broadcaster. The Daily Telegraph remembers that Mr Chataway was a supporter of homosexual law reform.
“He was in the vanguard of social reform, co-sponsoring Humphry Berkeley’s Bill to legalise homosexuality”
In 1965, Humphry Berkeley, then an MP, decided to introduce a bill to legalise male homosexual relations along the lines of the Wolfenden report of 1957. Berkeley was well known to his colleagues as a homosexual. His Bill was given a second reading by 164 to 107 on 11 February 1966, but the Bill fell when Parliament was dissolved due to the 1966 General Election (in which Berkeley lost his seat). He felt his defeat was due to the unpopularity of his bill on homosexuality. Leo Abse picked up the reform and backed it until it was passed successfully in 1967.
The Guardian published an account of the law reform battle on the 40th anniversary of the 1967 Act.
Mr Berkeley died on 14 November 1994.