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Queensland apologizes to men charged with homosexuality

Queensland apologizes to men charged with homosexuality

Queensland's Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has apologized to men convicted of homosexuality. Photo: Twitter via @jackietrad

Men convicted of homosexuality in Queensland have received an apology and will have their convictions expunged.

Queensland is a northern state in Australia, known to be more conservative than other states but for a while had same-sex civil unions.

Today its Premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk apologized to the men in the state’s parliament this afternoon.

‘Today this Legislative Assembly acknowledges the harm that has been inflicted by past convictions for homosexual activity between consenting adults in Queensland,’ she said in her apology.

‘To those people we are also sorry. You were denied the opportunity to openly declare your love for another, to celebrate that love, and to enjoy all that a loving relationship can give.

‘To those persons who faced the ignominy of being charged by police, of appearing before the courts and being punished for merely expressing their sexuality, we say sorry.

‘We regret the humiliation that you have endured and the violence and the vilification that were perpetrated upon you. We know that for many of you this has caused immeasurable pain.

‘We acknowledge that this experience has impacted significantly on your lives.’

Alan Raabe told the Courier Mail his conviction had deeply affected his life for three decades.

‘It’s been an anxious wait,’ he said.

‘For 30 years, you bottle this stuff up — you don’t talk about it.

‘You can’t apply for jobs, you can’t work with children. I wanted to teach; you couldn’t teach.’

The Australian Lawyers for Human Rights (ALHR) said the bill to expunge the criminal records of the men was fantastic news for Queensland’.  But the ALHR called on the Queensland government to act on age of consent laws.
‘This Bill appropriately enshrines human rights in Queensland,’ said ALHR’s LGBTI Committee
Co-Chair Kathryn Cramp.

‘There is no place for historical criminal records that propagate the myth that two consenting parties who had homosexual sex are deviant or criminals.

The ALHR remained concerned that the age of consent is unequal to straight people in Queensland, effectively targeting the gay community.

This inequality should be corrected to accommodate consenting parties to homosexual sex.

‘The age of consent should be equalised to prevent ongoing inequality and stigma in Queensland’s criminal law,’ Kamp said.

‘This is a discriminatory relic of the days when homosexuality was a crime.’