Protection of Freedoms Act 2012
The Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 was introduced to fulfil a commitment by the Coalition Government to to scrap laws introduced by Labour which were considered to be damaging to civil liberties. It covers a number of matters, but in particular it enables men convicted for sexual offences which have been decriminalised (buggery and gross indecency) to have their convictions disregarded (so that they would no longer be required to disclose such convictions). Adrian Trett, Chair of LGBT+ Liberal Democrats, described the act as "a major win for the LGBT rights."
The Act also removes the requirement that marriages and civil partnerships have to take place between certain times of day. It applies in general to England and Wales only.
In June 2023 the Act was extended to include other same sex activity such as soliciting and importuning, provided the activity would not constitute an offence if it took place today .
- s 194 Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act 2022 This would seem to mean any importuning or soliciting offence in a public toilet (cottaging) would not qualify for a disregard but an offence in a public park would be likely to