Britain Pardons All Men Convicted Under Historical Laws That Criminalized Being Gay

Britain Pardons All Men Convicted Under Historical Laws That Criminalised Being Gay

Britain pardons ‘convicted’ gay men: In the past, thousands of people in the UK were punished for having gay relationships, before those laws were changed.

Britain pardons gay men convicted over same-sex relations under now abolished laws. Convicted gay men will be able to have their convictions removed from the public record, the UK government announced on Tuesday. Gay men were already pardoned for a few of these old offences following a law introduced in 2017 called the Alan Turing Law, but the law is now being updated because campaigners said it did not go far enough. The new change can help thousands of gay and bi men who have struggled to find jobs during their working lives due to having “a criminal record”.

Up to now, the law only pardons nine former offences, and LGBT rights activists said the law should automatically cover all outdated convictions against homosexual relationships. Home Secretary Priti Patel said the move was aimed at “righting the wrongs of the past.”

The law that was used as late as the 1980s convicted “men who sometimes did little more than chat up another man in the street,” said Prof Paul Johnson, executive dean of social sciences at the University of Leeds and a co-leader of the campaign. “The broader implication [of the expanded pardons policy] is that it draws a line once and for all under about 500 years of persecution.”

“It’s very important that the state recognises that as a country we did something that was wholly wrong and inappropriate,” said Michael Cashman, a member of Britain’s upper house of parliament.

The law named after mathematician genius Alan Turing, who helped crack a coded language that the Nazis used in the Second World War to communicate with one another. In 1952 Turing was arrested and punished for having relationships with other men, and was no longer allowed to work for the government. He was pardoned in 2013, long after his death in 1954. In 2019 Alan Turing has been announced by the Bank of England as the face of the new £50 note, which went into circulation last year.