The time: 1983.
Whoo, first post! So I'm writing a piece of fanfiction in which the two main characters are members of a fictional UK intelligence service that is kinda sorta like MI5. Domestic affairs, mostly terrorism-related. (If it matters, it's The Professionals and they're in CI5.) Also they're gay. Because it's that kind of fanfiction.
What I want to know is: how illegal is it for them to be gay? Is it illegal, or against policy? How meaningful are the policies?
What I have found out: The Sexual Offences Act of 1967 decriminalized consensual homosexual acts between consenting adults except for members of the merchant navy and the armed forces. (I can't get the file with the actual text of the law to load on my computer, so I can't check for myself to make sure that's all.) But I'm getting the impression the law itself wouldn't apply to them. (The guy who had been committing homosexual acts in the merchant navy *and* the armed forces from about, oh, '62 to '75 is in the clear by '83, right? They can't, like, go back and charge him with anything? Or could they?)
I am under the general impression that at the time it was a bad idea to have gay people in your intelligence services, blah blah blackmail blah. Is this something the head of the agency (assume he is kindly disposed toward them) would look the other way on? Could he? Or would he have to do something? What exactly could the policy have said?
All the news a few months ago about how MI5 was now actually recruiting queer people did mention that the policy about being blackmailable was lifted "in the early 1990s." I am unable to find any more info about the actual policy. Specific dates, names, I got nothin'. Help? I'd really like to know more about this policy.
I basically want to get a sense of the different things that could happen to them, and their likelihood, and when in the future it would be okay to be out. Thanks.
[Edit: I should probably clarify, they're already agents, and they're coming out when they've been there several years.]
Search terms are various combinations of: uk homosexuality laws, lgbt, wolfenden report, civil service, mi5, blackmail, sexual offences act 1967.