Not too many European cities have such a rich gay history as the Austrian capital.
Through the Middle Ages, ecclesiastical courts were charged with trying cases of "sodomy" most commonly pursued when heretical or anti-church activity was also suspected.
In 1533, England enacted the first secular law criminalizing "the abominable vice of buggery" and making it punishable by hanging.
This followed from the broader spirit of Enlightenment legal reform that protected the private sphere from state intrusion.
The public and minors were still deemed to require state protection; therefore, the Law of 19-22 July 1791 and the Napoleonic Penal Code of 1810 criminalized "debauchery or corruption" of minors of either sex and "offenses against public decency" including sex in public places such as parks or bathrooms.
In Europe and America the condemnation of male-male sodomy is based on Old Testament law that assigned the death penalty for a man who "lies with a male as with a woman" (Leviticus ).