The ever-excellent Paul Bernal at UEA responds on his blog to a call for submissions to Labour Left’s ‘Red Book II’, by Dr Éoin Clarke, with a series of recommendations for any progressive party regarding digital policy. As I tweeted earlier, I agree with his suggestions (see here).
Although a Lib Dem member (who is debating renewing his membership) rather than a Labour-backer like Bernal, I thought the idea of setting out a series of progressive socio-legal policy objectives is a useful one, and one that I've found myself thinking about this morning in the context of sexuality.
Here are my initial thoughts/suggestions:
1. Introduce same-sex marriage but retain Civil Partnerships, extending Cps to different-sex couples.
2. Repeal Section 71 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 (dealing with sex in a public lavatory). See my previous arguments on this subject here.
3. Clarify the law relating to public indecency to mean that the likelihood of being seen does not include by members of the Police.
4. Repeal S63-71 of the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008 (dealing with pornography).
5. A full review of remaining obscenity law (including CPS and BBFC guideline documentation) by a broad-based expert committee.
6. A full review (and likely new legislation) addressing consent and sexual behaviour and principally responding to R v Brown, Dica and Konzani.
7. Repeal Section 45(2) of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 (this would remove the anomaly of being able to have sex at 16, but being criminalised for taking a picture of yourself having sex on your smart phone until the person being photographed is 18). It would also clarify that a 'child' is someone aged below 16. A new provision could be created clarifying that 'commercially produced' pornography should remain 18 but I question how effective such a provision would be.
8. Repeal all legislative provisions relating to prostitution (ie relevant provisions of Policing and Crime Act 2009, Sexual Offences Act 2003, Street Offences Act 1959).
9. Amend the Gender Recognition Act 2004 so as to allow individuals to transcend the binary assumption of gender embedded in the Act.
10. Amend the HIV Testing Kits and Services Regulations 1992 to allow for home HIV testing, and the purchasing of kits by the public, alongside a clinician-led new strategy for HIV testing.
These are just some starting points...I'm sure I'll think of others!