UK Government To Assist With Pardons For Historic Gay Convictions

UK Government
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The UK government has announced further plans to help individuals obtain official pardons for historical convictions of gay and bisexual men convicted of consensual gay sex prior to homosexual law reforms.

Agreeing to amend the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, the UK government aims to help expunge the records of people who were convicted of ‘crimes’ relating to homosexual activity due to previous anti-homosexual laws that criminalised consensual gay sex.

The newly expanded scheme will result in many more individuals being eligible to have convictions wiped from their records and an automatic pardon given; the amendment will also allow those who have since passed away within five years prior to the amendment coming into force to be posthumously pardoned.
 
Speaking on the amendment, Conservative Party home secretary Priti Patel explained, “It is only right that where offences have been abolished, convictions for consensual activity between same-sex partners should be disregarded too.”
 

“I hope that expanding the pardons and disregards scheme will go some way to righting the wrongs of the past and to reassuring members of the LGBT+ community that Britain is one of the safest places in the world to call home.”

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The amendment follows the 2017 Turing Law (named after the wartime codebreaker Alan Turing who was convicted of gross indecency for homosexual acts in 1952) – which granted posthumous pardons to people who were convicted of sexual acts that are no longer deemed criminal.

While the 2017 Turing Law had been welcomed at the time, it was also criticised for not going far enough, with campaigners arguing that the crimes included in the Law were too narrow and only had nine former offences on a specified list, with a significant focus on the repealed offences of buggery and gross indecency between men.

The amendment to the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill is expected to address such concerns and broaden the criteria to include any repealed or abolished civilian or military offence imposed on an individual purely for, or due to, consensual homosexual activity.

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