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Scottish government will apologize to all men with gay sex convictions from now-abolished law

Scottish government will apologize to all men with gay sex convictions from now-abolished law

Scottish men to get pardon for gay sex convictions

The Scottish government will apologize to all men with gay sex convictions as a result of now-abolished laws.

First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon will make the apology on 7 November. This is to coincide with the publication of new legislation to provide an automatic pardon to all those affected.

As a result, men with gay sex convictions prior to 2001 will be able to apply to have them removed from criminal conviction records.

A Scottish Government spokesman said: ‘The First Minister will give a statement of apology to those convicted prior to 2001 under discriminatory laws against same-sex sexual activity that is now legal.

‘The apology will be made on behalf of the Scottish Government for the treatment of homosexual men under previous governments and will coincide with the introduction of legislation to provide people convicted under these laws an automatic pardon.

‘The Bill will right a historic wrong.

‘[It will] give justice to those who found themselves unjustly criminalized simply because of who they loved.’

LGBTI citizens deserve equal respect

Activists and campaigners applaud the move, but say more can be done. The UK also pardoned gay and bisexual men who were convicted under similar laws.

Human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell said: ‘Nicola Sturgeon is making an unambiguous apology. I applaud the First Minister.

‘This is recognition by the Scottish state that a grave injustice was done to many gay and bisexual men.

Image by TEDxEastEnd via Flickr
Peter Tatchell

Tatchell believes Sturgeon and the Scottish government should go even further though.

He continued: ‘I urge the Scottish government to follow the German government’s example by offering a symbolic compensation of around £3,000 to those men whose lives were ruined by homophobic laws.

‘Many men were fined, jailed, lost their jobs, were forced out of their homes, subjected to gay-bashing and were driven to depression, alcoholism, mental illness and attempted suicide.

‘They deserve recompense,’ he also said.