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40th anniversary of leading gay human rights case: Dudgeon v the United Kingdom

This month marks the 40th anniversary of the European Commission of Human Rights declaring, in 1978, the application in Dudgeon v the United Kingdom admissible. 

This was a very significant event which paved the way to the UK Parliament partially decriminalising sexual acts between men in Northern Ireland in 1982.

The application
The application to the Commission was made by Jeffrey Dudgeon in May 1976, who was then a thirty-year-old shipping clerk resident in Belfast. 
Mr Dudgeon stated in his application that he "had been consciously homosexual from the age of 14 years" and, from the "onset of homosexual consciousness", had "experienced fear [which] had increased through adulthood and was directly caused by the existence of offences against homosexual behaviour in the criminal law".

He complained to the Commission about the blanket prohibition of male homosexual acts in Northern Ireland enforced through law regulating buggery and gross indecency between mal…

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