Towards a Quaker View of Sex

Wedmore to Gorman re Anonymous 4 November 1960


Wedmore sent a reply to the anonymous letter that George Gorman had forwarded to the committee in August (above). Wedmore wrote his perspectives on the aims and accomplishments of the committee during its early writing phase.


Keith Wedmore Papers


Sheerwater Avenue
West Byfleet, Surrey

4th November 1960

Dear George:

You will recall that when last summer a first draft of the coming QCB pamphlet was in your hands for duplicating, you showed it to a friend, who wrote three sides of very sympathetic comment. The silence that has followed your forwarding this to us does not mean we ignored his comments--far from it. The whole letter was gone over in full committee in October, and the various further drafts produced since then have had
his comments in mind.

This letter contains my personal reactions to his comments--just to thank and encourage him as it were.

First of all: what he was sent was Part 8 (Homosexuality and the law) and part ten (How can help be given) which were simply two parts taken at random from the whole scheme: which as you know is far more comprehensive, and not for example confined to homosexuality, although it has a homosexual emphasis. I shall be interested to see your correspondents comments on the part dealing with homosexuality as such (Part 5) when we have produced it and he has seen it.

Secondly: what he was sent has been completely revised twice since apart from a further revision by me. What he was was in a very immature state.

Thirdly: I only wrote the legal part and that is all that is discussed here.

Fourthly: I must assume, in order that this should not be intolerably long, that your correspondent kept a copy of his comments!

1. Most of this is taken care of when one explains that anon has not yet seen our section on Homosexuality (Hy hereafter).

f: we are not concerned to argue for a change in the law; that is not our task. I was only trying to set out what was the law, and of course my irritation with is shows through. Of course--I might add--all of us assume the law should be changed. (I hope by the way that your correspondent is an enthusiastic supporter of the H1 Law Reform Society).

g. We go further than that: we are (get this!) purporting to revise the 'moral code' itself. It is here that we expect to arouse a certain amount of controversy.

It will help if I give the outline of the pamphlet without further ado: 1 Introduction 2 Heterosexuality 3 Heterosexual problems 4 Masturbation 5 Homosexuality 6 Perversions 7 Causation 8 Homosexuality and the law 9 morals 10 help 11 Summary

2. Would your correspondent like to prepare a brief (as long as this letter) and accurate summary of the views--historical and present--of all Christian bodies? I started on this, gave it up. We decided it was beyond our knowledge. In general ,we are able to say that there is some genuine first hand knowledge or expertise going into this thing. None of us are historians or theologians. What is your correspondent? (I was balked at having to unravel, eg, Luther's or George Fox's views; perhaps he wouldnt be.)

We put Gibbon in simply because we liked it so. We all agree with anon's last remark but none of us felt inclined to take Gibbon out! A deadpan article on sex--yet another, lets face it--could be terribly dull.

3 Hansard was quoted at length for a reason: I have a fairly heretical though not novel point to urge (and it must he here opinion not fact): I say that Parliament didnt know what it was doing when it passed section 11. (This is highly relevant to the law reform angle by the way) All I can do is to set out all the facts as I can see them, and let the reader judge.

We have now greatly expanded the section on buggery and sodomy, explaining what is what, in light of anon's comments, (and Wednesday's success for Lady Chatterley).

4 Yes, rather true. Has been altered. I am not sure I agree with such a high age of consent as 21 myself: so I havent emphasised it again.

We will deal with capitalization and stops when the whole articles stands finished for final revision (June 1962 at the present rate!)

Yours sincerely,

Keith Wedmore