Thousands of gay and bisexual men found guilty of now-abolished sexual offences in the United Kingdom have received posthumous pardons.
People who have died will be automatically pardoned, and 15,000 living men who were convicted of gay sexual acts before homosexuality was decriminalised in England and Wales in 1967 will be apply for a pardon under the new legislation.
Dubbed the “Alan Turing Law”, it’s named for the World War II codebreaker who saved countless lives during World War II. Turing was convicted in 1952 of gross indecency with a 19-year-old man, and took his own life two years later.
He was granted a posthumous royal pardon in 2013, and his family delivered a petition with over 640,000 signatures to the UK government in 2015.
UK Justice minister Sam Gyimah said the pardons had been a longstanding government commitment and 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,” he said.
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.”