Diocesan press releases

St Asaph Cathedral marks 50 years since the decriminalisation of homosexuality

Members of North Wales’ LGBTQIA+ community will be joined by politicians, local police and council representatives at St Asaph Cathedral tomorrow night (19 October) to mark the 50th Anniversary of the Decriminalisation of Homosexuality.

The event, entitled Coming out the Shadows, will reflect on the impact of that law, remember those who suffered because of their sexuality and share hopes for the future.

The Cathedral Dean, the Very Revd Nigel Williams, will welcome speakers to reflect and celebrate those who fought for the change in the law and will remember those whose lives were blighted.

Among those taking part is the Member of the Welsh Assembly for Delyn, Hannah Blythyn (Labour, pictured left).  Commenting ahead of the event she said: “It is a privilege to be participating in an event that has both history and hope at its heart and I am proud that such an event is taking place in North Wales.

“The unique setting of St Asaph Cathedral offers an amazing opportunity to reflect on the past and commemorate how far we have come on LGBT rights and acceptance but also to set out a path towards a more equal, just and fairer future.”

Other speakers include:

  • Andrew White, Stonewall Cymru
  • Adam Price AM, Plaid Cymru
  • Revd Sarah Hildreth-Osborn (LGBTQIA+ Chaplain) and members of Open Table (a monthly gathering for the LGBTQIA+ community, families, friends and supporters)

The event is being organised by members of Llanrwst Open Table which is led by the LGBTQIA+ chaplain, the Revd Sarah Hildreth-Osborn.  She said: “We felt very much that we wanted to remember this historic legislation and how it changed the lives of so many people.

“Holding the event in St Asaph Cathedral signals that the church acknowledges the pain that the criminalisation of homosexuality caused so many and how members of the gay community suffered just for being themselves – the person God created them to be.”

“The theme, Coming out the Shadows reminds us that for many LGBTQIA+ people, life is still difficult with discrimination, homophobia and antipathy persisting.”

The Sexual Offences Act 1967 received Royal Assent on 27 July, fifty years ago. The Act did not legalise gay sex, but introduced an exemption from prosecution for men over the age of 21 having sex in private.  It was not until 2001, after losing a case in the European Court of Human Rights, that the then Labour government were compelled to repeal the criminalisation of homosexual acts.

Coming out the Shadows on Thursday 19 October at St Asaph Cathedral is open to all.  It will begin with drinks and nibbles at 7pm for 7.30pm and a rainbow cake is being made specially for the occasion.   The event is free and you can confirm your attendance at https://comingoutoftheshadows.eventbrite.co.uk