VICTORIA FORMALLY APOLOGISES FOR UNJUST GAY SEX CONVICTIONS


Victoria will today make a formal apology to the gay community for antiquated laws that criminalised homosexual behaviour.

Homosexuality was decriminalised in 1981 but before that, men could be sentenced to up to 15 years in jail for having consensual gay sex.

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Premier Daniel Andrews will stand up in the Parliament in front of a number of men, some of whom were jailed for being gay, to make the historic apology.

Noel Tovey, 84 (pictured), a celebrated Aboriginal dancer and choreographer, was convicted of homosexuality in 1951.

“What it might really mean is that we are one step closer to accepting same-sex marriage, we’re closer to accepting homosexuality as something that is not as perverted as people think it is,” he said.

Mr Tovey is hoping the apology will embolden young people.

“They’re going to be able to point to the law and say to their mother or father or parents that the Government now accepts homosexuality,” he said.

“The apology means finally the government is recognising homosexuals as human beings.”

Equality Minister Martin Foley said the apology was an important step to healing the hurt for those who were unfairly labelled criminals.