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According to sociologist Matthew Waites, in the 1970s, a number of grassroots political actions took place in Britain in favor of lowering the age of consent, which he described as based on claims of children's rights, gay liberation, or as a way to avoid unwanted pregnancies or sexually transmitted infections.
In September 1974, the Sexual Law Reform Society proposed lowering the age of consent to 14, with the requirement that below the age of 18 the burden of proof that consent for sexual activities between the parties existed would be the responsibility of the older participant.
A related issue is whether or not to apply ages of consent to homosexual relationships that are different from those applied to heterosexual relationships.
Organized efforts have ranged from academic discussions to political petitions.
The English government eventually decided on age of 12 for women as their limitation.
The male homosexual age of consent in the United Kingdom was set at 21 in the Sexual Offences Act of 1967, lowered to 18 in the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994, and then finally lowered equally to 16 in England and Wales and Scotland in the Sexual Offences (Amendment) Act of 2000.
In 1976, the British political advocacy group the National Council for Civil Liberties (now known as Liberty) published a proposal advocating reducing the age of consent laws to 10 years of age, only when both individuals are younger than 14, with a close-in-age exemption of two years if one of the involved individuals is older than 14 but younger than 16.
Age of consent reform is efforts to change age of consent laws.Proposed reforms typically include raising, lowering, or abolishing the age of consent, applying (or not applying) close-in-age exemptions, changing penalties, or changing how cases are examined in court.