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Scotland will pardon all men convicted for being gay

In Westminster, the bill to pardon convicted gay and bisexual men failed

Scotland will pardon all men convicted for being gay
Bill named after Alan Turing moves forward

Scotland is moving to provide an automatic pardon for all people who were convicted of being gay before the law against homosexuality was scrapped.

It comes after Theresa May’s government stopped a bill from passing without a vote, saying they would prefer their own legislation.

Scottish Justice Secretary Michael Matheson has said this will not stop them, with Scotland plans are now being made with cross-party support.

He said it was ‘shocking’ that Scotland only decriminalized gay sex in 1980, 13 years after England and Wales did in 1967. The age of consent in Scotland was not equalized until 2001.

Matheson said: ‘Such laws clearly have no place in a modern and inclusive Scotland. However, there are people with criminal convictions for same-sex sexual activity that is now lawful and we must right this wrong.

‘We will introduce an automatic formal pardon for those convicted under these discriminatory laws so they know they are absolved fully. We want to address the injustice that people experienced simply because of their sexual orientation in circumstances that are now legal and this is one way of achieving this.’

The proposed law, like the Westminster government’s, will be named after World War Two genius, codebreaker and father of computer science Alan Turing who was convicted of homosexuality, was chemically castrated, and committed suicide.

UK Justice Minister Sam Gyimah filibustered to ensure the law did not pass this month, where he was heckled by MPs.

He insisted the private members bill would see people claiming pardons for acts that are still illegal. And under the proposed legislation by the government, thousands of living men with convictions will be allowed to apply to the Home Office instead of receiving an automatic pardon.

However the private member’s bill ‘explicitly’ excluded pardoning anyone convicted of offenses that are still illegal.


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