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Scotland pardons men convicted for consensual gay sex

Scotland pardons men convicted for consensual gay sex

Scotland has passed a law that will pardon gay men convicted for having consensual sex before such acts were decriminalized.

The Scottish Parliament building in Edinburgh

The Scottish government introduced the Historical Sexual Offences (Pardons and Disregards) Bill in November 2017.

Convicted men will still need to apply to have their records cleared to prevent them showing up in disclosure checks.

Gay sex was a crime in Scotland until 1981

Consensual sex between men over the age of 21 were illegal in Scotland until 1981. The age of consent was reduced to 16 in 2001.

The purpose of the bill was ‘to correct a historical wrong, in terms of how certain criminal laws in the past were used to discriminate against same-sex sexual activity’, Government documents read.

LGBT equality group, Stonewall, supported the news that Scotland had voted the bill through for convictions handed out under anti-gay legislation.

The National, a pro-independence Scottish newspaper, said it was a ‘A proud day for Scotland – and an excellent result’.

Tim Hopkins of the Equality Network also welcomed the news, but warned that LGBTI people continue to face prejudice in Scotland.

‘This is concrete recognition of the huge harm that was done to people who were prosecuted or lived under these old laws,’ he said in an interview with politics magazine, Holyrood.

‘Together with the First Minister’s apology, the message is that Scotland has changed for good, and that discrimination is no longer acceptable.’

The ‘Turing Bill’ got its name from the world war two codebreaker and computer pioneer, Alan Turing.

He was arrested and was charged with gross indecency in 1952. The mathematical genius later committed suicide.

Turing was given a full pardon in 2013, more than fifty years after his death.

To read more about Alan Turing’s life and his transformation from world war two hero to social disgrace, click here.