A little known anti-gay law looks like it’s going to get scrapped and it’s known as the last anti-gay law.

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The UK’s last anti-gay law is looking like it’ll get scrapped. The law actually allows shipping firms to sack a “seafarer on a merchant navy vessel” for an act of “homosexuality” and it was introduced in 1994 by the Conservative government of the day, led by Prime Minister John Major. It is known as the “last anti-gay law” because it was actually the last anti-gay law to be passed in the UK.

Equality laws, such as the Equality Act 2010, that have been introduced since 1994 have actually made the law defunct, but it remains on the statute books.

A group of MPs want to make it officially defunct.


Conservative MP John Glen said he wanted the law to be scrapped because being gay has no impact on a person’s ability to doing their job and told MPs that there was no place in society for employment discrimination based on sexual orientation.

He said,

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“When it comes to employment, in the merchant navy or anywhere else, what matters is a person’s ability to do the job—not their gender, age, ethnicity, religion or sexuality.

“Many will be surprised—astonished, even—to learn that this anomaly still remains on the statute book. There is no place in our society today for employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.”

There is no provision in the law that exists for heterosexual acts.

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