GD467/1/1: Ian Dunn Archive 1969

Correspondence betweem Ian Dunn, Scottish Law Society, Church of Scotland Social & Moral Welfare Committee regarding the Sexual Offences Act 1967 (SOA1967) and its not applying to Scotland: (IDSexualOffencesAct1967_1.htm)

This refers to a bundle of typewritten letters


29 Dec 1967 I Dunn to Scottish Law Society

7, Hillside Crescent,

Dear Sir,

I heard earlier in the year that the Society would welcome suggestions from the Public, in the ultimate hope that Scots Law might be kept in line with current thinking.

The SOA1967 ... Royal Assent 27 July 1967 – a major legal and social breakthrough, for the private life and difficulties of the adult male homosexual then ceased to be ruled by the crippling surveillance of the criminal law. But not in Scotland.

I am in some genuine doubt about the present legal status of male homosexuals in Scotland, and would, with respect, ask the Society to examine the whole position.

Recently, a questioning note from an “admitted” homosexual domiciled in England. He wondered whether it was “all right” to come across the Border – even for a short visit. Is there an answer to this very real worry?

Yours sincerely, Ian C Dunn


Background In GD467/1/1/1 THE SEXUAL OFFENCES ACT 1967 [interpreted extract]

Main purpose of SOA1967 which does not apply to Scotland is to provide that a homosexual act shall not be a criminal offence if it is done:
(a) with consent, &
(b) in private, &
(c) by not more than two persons both aged 21 or over.

Persons is not defined, but must apply to males as there has never been prohibition agaoing the private homosexual acts of consenting females aged 16 and over.

“Concent” not defined.

“In private” . The Act lays down that an act is not in private if 1. more than two persons are present, or 2. in a lavatory to which the public have or are permitted to have access, whether on payment of otherwise.

3 Jan 1978 The Law Society of Scotland to Ian Dunn

I am in receipt of your letter of 29 [Dec 1967] ... further communication will be sent to you in due course.

[Hand written note:] No Further Communication recd.

18 Feb 1968: Ian Dunn to The Law Society of Scotland

Thank you for the acknowledgement ...

Perhaps, due to the Postal Service vicissitudes, a further communication from the Society did not reach this address. I may, of course, have missed a "public" announcement.

My letter, in asking for a general assessment of the present legal status of male homosexuals in Scotland, might be too wide-ranging a request.

It is appreciated that the Society is very fully occupied just now. However, some correspondence (in your own time) will be welcomed by many individuals both in thier private and in their professional speres.

I should be interested to learn of your attitude towards Law Reform.


20 Feb 1968: Law Society to Ian Dunn.

Our Ref. LS. 222

I am in receipt of your letter of 18 inst. [Feb 1968]

No further communication has been sent to you.

I am endeavouring to ascertain the circumstances under which it was decided that the Sexual Offences Act 1967 should not be made applicable to Scotland.

With regard to the final paragraph of your letter, my Council is actively interested in law reform and has a Law Reform Committee which carries out much work in that connection.

I am, Yours faithfully, (L.I.S.) Secretary.

22 Dec 1968: Ian Dunn to Legal Enquiries, Crown Office, Edinburgh.


In February 1968, I learned form the Law Society of Scotland that the Law  Reform Committee  was "endevouring to ascertain the circumstances under which it was decided that the Sexual Offences Oct 1967 should not be made applicable to Scotland". (Ref. LS/222).

I have had not further information, nor become aware of any announcements about the present Scottish position. Presumably the Act is not applicable to Scotland because it it not, legally, a "crime to be homosexual" in Scotland.

Are homosexuals protected from prosecution within the terms of the 1967 Act? I should be very grateful if you will clarify this matter for me.

Yours sincerely, I.C.D.

Dispatched 22/12/68
Result: 26/12/68 Sorry - pse refer to 1885 etc.

26 Dec 1968: Crown Office to Ian Dunn


I am to acknowledge recipt of your letter of 22nd December. It is, of course, not for me to say why Parliament did not apply and Act to Scotland, nor is it for me to give legal advice to the public. I can only refer you to the common law on the crime of Sodomy and to Section 11 of the Criminal Law Amendment Act 1885.

I am, Sir, Your obedient Servant, Finley Souter [I think] Crown Agent

Article from Glasgow Herald Fri 10 May 1968 attached here


14 May 1968: Ian Dunn to Social & Moral Welfare Committee [Church of Scotland]

Dear Mr Allan, [Secretary]

I was in touch with the office on the telephone on Monday, and this letter follows from the very short converstation I had with your courteous secretary, who gave me your name.

My enquiry sprang from the prominent coverage given to your Committee's recommencations to the forthcoming General Assembly in Friday's "Glasgow Herald". [10 May 1968]  Your conclusions about the condition of male homosexuality do you credit, and are applauded. Their ring of understanding and compassion sounds worlds away from the reactionary decision of last year's Assembly.[Counter-motion introduced which deplored the prevalence of homosexual practice... cf GH article above.] Unnecessary, perhaps, to add that this must have impaired the Church's position - a position today which was painfully reflected in the "Talkback" production from Glasgow, though I would readily agree that this was an unsatisfactory programme on several counts.

I know this is a very busy time for the Church, by my question is: have any approached been made to the Law Society of Scotland since the Sexual Offences Act 1967 became law?

On my own initiative, I wrote to their Secretary in December 1967. After a further enquiry at the end of February, I learnt that he "was endeavouring to ascertain the circumstances under which it was decided that the Sexual Offences Act 1967 should not be made applicable to Scotland" (REF L.S.222). I should be very interested to hear if your Committee have had any success in the legal direction. I, myself, have heard nothing more from the Law Society.

I am sure you know of the existence of the Albany Trust in London. The Trust has absorbed most of the work of th Homosexual Law Reform Society and, since that major reform, has become very active, and indeed the work-load is heavy on funds and staff. If you not already in contact with Antony Gray, the Trust Secretary, I can say with certainty that he would welcome your approaches. Very probably you have a copy of his pamphlet "Christian Society and the Homosexual".

If you would prefer to wait until the Assembly has risen before contnuing this correspondence, I will understand. One can only hope and pray for an informed chande of attitude. For nearly 300,000[pen]* men [pencil] (No!) in Scotland, hope must have been strengthened on learing of last week's announcement by your Committee.

Yours sincerely, Ian C Dunn

[Pen note]
135,000=5% of MALES IN SCOTLAND
=>Sent an apology for gross overstatement & thanks on 18/5/68. ICD.

16 May 1968: Secretary Church of Scotland, Dept of Social & Moral Welfare to Ian Dunn

Please Quote DAA/MR

Dear Mr. Dunn,

Many thanks for your letter of 14 May [1968], which may indeed give more power to the Convener when the Report is discussed on Wednesday.

We have been in touch with the Law Society and the Crown Office with regard to the Sexual Offences Act 1967, but I regret to say the replies recieived follow a similar pattern to the one which you received.

Indeed, I know Antony Gray quite well and usually try to see him on my fleeting visits to London, and, of course, we have sat in Committee together from time to time.

As you conclude we shall have to pray for an informed attitude when the report is received on Wednesday.

I shall write again to you again following the discussion on the report.

Yours sincerely, Douglas A Allan, Secretary

[pencil note] John T Peat MA, St. Paul's Manse, Milngavie. [Convenor MWC]

undated newspaper cutting Kirk Concern on Birth Control for Unmarried

The moral welfare committe of the C of S are deeply concerned about recent moves to provide contraceptives to the unmarried through family planning clinic.

In their report to the General Assembly, the committee ... encourage young unmarried people to enter into or continue illicit unions and promiscuous sexual behaviour rather than exercise self-control and to prepare themselves for full & happy marriage. ... [7 more paras]

[pen comment by ID] (Retain:- shows moral probs.

14 Nov 1968: Ian Dunn to Secy, The Mattachine Society of Washingtonox 1032, Washington D.C.

Dear Sir,

I should be most interested to receive information about your Society.

As you know, you get a mention in the book "Homosexuality" by D? J West. This summer, he brought out a revised edition which is a great improvement in this wide-ranging and sympathetic enquiry.

In the United Kingdom, since the 1967 Law Reform, events have taken a slow turn. Attempts to establish Social Clubs (À La Amsterdam), are not proving an easy matter - there seems to be quite a bit of public antipathy. The Albany Trust has done, and is doing, a great job of education and conselling work, but is finding support is falling away now that the main "battle" has been won. (But not in Scotland, where it remains a crime to be homosexual).

If its necessary for me to join the Society, please enclose and Application Form with any literature you may send me.

Yours sincerely, Ian C Dunn.

[Attached to above is a pen note]
A substantial repeat of the above was sent 8 January 1969 since no resonse from Mattachine Washington recd. ICD.
A similar "initial letter" sent to the Scretary of the Mattachine Society of New York (air mai) 10 January 1969. ICD.

Esquire Clubs Limited, Gaddum House, Manchester. NEWSLETTER. October 1968.
DirectorsL Allan Horsfall, Jack Jackson, Harold Pollard, Colin Harvey [underlined by ID? He lived in Milngavie, Glasgow.], Ray Goslin.


On 29 August an article headed "Homosexuals Now" [margin note] by Ray Gosling which dealt at lenght with the ESQUIRE prohect, appeared in New Society, the social workers' journal. This article had been previously been submitted to the ESQUIRE Board and had been approved by all the Directors.

On the following Sunday, the BBC presented a sympathetic report on "The spread of homosexual clubs in Britain" in the Radio 4 prgramme, 'The World This Weekend'. The following Wednesday on the same station in 'THe World at One', Lord Arran bitterly attacked the clubs and expressed the hope that they would fail. He also attacked them on the same day in his regular colum in the London Evegin News and said that, had he known that  this was going to happen, he would not have introduced his Sexual Offences Bill. He attacked yet again in the same paper on the following Wednesday and on the 19 September the Evening News published the following letter from the secretary of ESQUIRE:-

"I have worked in the field of homosexual law reform for longer than Lord Arran and I am convinced that he is wrong about teh need for homosexual clubs.

"We at Esquire CLubs regreat that it is necessary for minorities to be organised in this way, byt homosexuals at the moment are misunderstood and misrepresented to an extent that they need the particular support and protection that only the proposed clubs can give them.

"We will continue to work and pray for the time when the clubs are no longer needed when the homosexual can take his place in the wider community, but for the present we are simpley not prepared to sacrifice this generation for the sake of the next."

Lord Arran has since maintined public silence, but the ESQUIRE Board and the Northern Committee are still facing consierable private pressure form London [pen] I.C.A.T.and elselwhere.

16 November 1968 Ian Dunn to Secy Esquire Clubs Ltd

Dear Alan Horsfall,

Thank you very much for October's Newsletter [cf above] and the photocopy of Ray Gosling's "New Society" article. [not in file]  ...

Your newsletter puts in words what I have felt since the summer - that there is an extraordinary lack of interrest in homosecual matters just now. By this I mean the establishment of Social Clubs 'à la Esquire', and the like.

It would seem that if we assert our equality in the community - and enjoy the security and ease of equals - there is a a hostility, a sort of "well, of course I would work for Law Reform and removal of social injustice, but regulated gay glubs? No sir - youre on your own". At least, I've found so. Perhaps I can illustrate this in my communications with the Church of Scotland. In May 1967 ...  CONTINUE HERE

Short biographical note on Alan Horsfall gleaned from The Knitting Circle

In 1964 he co-founded the North-West Homosexual Law Reform Committee with Colin Harvey. After the 1967 Sexuel Reform Act the committee became the Campaign for Homosexual Equality. Allan Horsfall was successively its secretary, chair, and president. Most of his working life was spent with the National Coal Board, in the estates department. For his last few years before retirement he worked for the Salford Education Department. In the mid-1990s he became involved with the campaign around the case of the Bolton 7. Harold Pollard, his partner for 48 years, died in 1996. In March 2000 Allan Horsfall received The Pink Paper Award for his services to the gay community.

Picture of Alan with Ray Gosling: