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1965 – Imprisoned for the last time… but still not free!

January 27, 2010

In 1965, George Everett Klippert was charged in the Northwest Territorial Court with four counts of “gross indecency” for engaging in same-sex consensual acts in privacy. Klippert pleaded guilty to these charges and was sentenced to indefinite imprisonment on the grounds that he was a “dangerous sexual offender.”

Klippert was assessed as “incurably homosexual” and was detained preventatively for an indefinite period of time. In 1967, the Supreme Court of Canada upheld the ruling of the territorial court and denied Klippert’s appeal. Ultimately, this decision meant that any homosexual engaging in consensual sexual acts could be imprisoned for life. If found guilty of comitting consensual homosexual acts, the only way to resist imprisonment for life would be to prove that one would not engage in the same sexual act again.

Many Canadians were outraged by the decision of the Supreme Court. This led to increased media attention and calls for reform. Much of society and government at the time still believed that homosexuality was repugnant and deviant behaviour but, that it was an illness that required psychiatric help rather than criminal prosecution. This court case culminated in the amendments to the Criminal Law Act by Trudeau in 1969.

The link below leads to a CBC Broadcast after the 1967 Supreme Court Decision against George Klippert, it expresses the prevailing idea of the day that homosexuality was a social illness rather than a criminal act.

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