Thousands of gay and bisexual men found guilty of now-abolished sexual offences in the United Kingdom have received posthumous pardons. The men received the pardons under the new ‘Alan Turing Law’.
People who died earlier will receive automatic pardons. 15,000 living men convicted of gay sexual acts before the decriminalisation of homosexuality in England and Wales in 1967 can apply for pardons under the new legislation.
Alan Turing Law
Dubbed the Alan Turing Law, politicians named the law for the legendary World War II codebreaker. Turing saved countless lives during World War II through his work on breaking German codes.
Convicted in 1952 of gross indecency with a 19-year-old man, he died two years later, presumably by suicide.
The queen granted Turing a posthumous royal pardon in 2013. His family delivered a petition with over 640,000 signatures to the UK government in 2015 demanding justice for others charged for the same offences.
UK Justice minister Sam Gyimah said the pardons had been a longstanding government commitment. He said he was ‘immensely proud’ of the new law.
“This is a truly momentous day. We can never undo the hurt caused, but we have apologised and taken action to right these wrongs.”
UK charity Stonewall said: “Another important milestone of equality has been secured in law. Gay and bi men, cautioned or convicted for kissing, holding hands or just chatting up men, can now have these ‘crimes’ deleted from their record.
“The more equality is enshrined into our law books, the stronger our equality becomes, and the stronger we as a community become. This is not just equality for gay and bi men, the passing of this law is justice.”
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