News and Views
June 1966 • Vol. 1 No. 9
Originally published in the June 1966 issue of Tangents
LONDON—The Commons, on July 5 , said yes to a change in homosexual laws by a vote of 244 to 100. Outraged Tory member Sir Cyril Osborne described Mr. Leo Abse’s private bill to legalize homosexual acts as “filthy,” “bestial” and “scandalous.” One of Sir Cyril’s worries was that the bill would not apply to the Armed Forces. He wondered how discipline would be maintained “if buggery is permitted to civilians and denied to soldiers, sailors and airmen.” He forecast an increase in these “bestial habits.” In presenting his bill, Mr. Abse assured MPs that boys under 16 would be protected and military discipline maintained. He said that “to send homosexuals to overcrowded hermetically-sealed prisons was as silly as incarcerating a sex maniac in a harem.”
A committee of Boy Scout leaders has urged the organization to get a new image. They want to scrap their short pants, which they claim “are responsible for the scout movement being dubbed as a juvenile organization in which men drop back to boyhood level.” They recommend green berets instead of the old-fashioned army hats, and the dropping of the word “boy” from their name. And the leaders believe that scouts between the ages of 16 and 20 “should be meeting girls.”
NEW YORK—The New York Times has reported that Police Commissioner H.R. Leary has issued specific instruction that plainclothesmen are not to entice homosexuals into making illegal overtures. The New York Civil Liberties Union has charged that the practice, known as entrapment, has been used for arrest under a section of the State Penal Code that makes it an offense, punishable by up to six months in prison, if “any person…frequents or loiters about any public place soliciting men for the purpose of committing a crime against nature or other lewdness.” Dick Leitsch, president of the Mattachine Society, Inc. of New York , hailed the new policy. A spokesman for the ACLU said: “This is an extremely important victory, but I hope that the police do not revert to the practice of entrapment after the public interest in the subject dies down.”
The National Association of Independent Schools, which represents 760 private schools, has given priority to the inclusion of sex education in the instruction of its pupils. Cary Potter, president of the association, said: “There are few thoughtful educators today who are not seriously concerned about the role of the school in sex education, and few feel much confidence in what they are doing, or in knowing what they ought to do.”
CHICAGO—Although Illinois, in 1961, adopted model sex laws eliminating as a crime homosexuality between consenting adults, Chicago police have been arresting up to 150 alleged homosexuals every month. A special subcommittee of the American Civil Liberties Union is probing the growing problem of police harassment, including mass arrests of homosexuals for what police term “obscene behavior” in places where they congregate, including bars. ACLU’s subcommittee will discuss this continuing practice by police to treat sexual deviancy as a criminal offense, and will probe possibilities of strengthening civil rights of homosexuals.
WASHINGTON, D.C.—Must airline stewardesses be girls? This issue is being debated seriously by the five-member Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Two unions have charged that the airlines discriminate against men when they hire only girls as cabin attendants. The airlines reply, in effect, that male stewardesses would set aviation back 35 years. Flying to the rescue of men who would like to be stewards were the Air Line Pilots Association (that’s right, the Air Line Pilots Association] and the Transport Workers Union. ALPA and TWU say the law’s the law and that’s that. If the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits sex discrimination, the airlines must be forced to hire men as cabin attendants. The airlines base their legal case on a provision in the Civil Rights Act which holds that an employer may discriminate on the grounds of sex, if sex is a “bona fide occupational requirement.” They argue that flight attendant jobs include the intangibles of physical attractiveness—thus, the jobs I should be reserved for girls only.
John W. Macy, Jr., Chairman of the Civil Service Commission in Washington, has stated categorically that persons who are known to commit homosexual acts “are not suitable for Federal employment.” Macy placed known homosexual conduct in the same category as “criminal or licentious heterosexual conduct”—both of which, he said, would make a person unsuitable for government work. Macy’s statement was the result of efforts of the Mattachine Society of Washington to get government agencies to recognize homosexuals as respectable citizens.
Originally published in the June 1966 issue of Tangents magazine
©1966, 2016 by The Tangent Group. All rights reserved.