(LA Blade) The U.K. government announced that it was amending the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, adding categories of persons eligible to expunge the records of people who were convicted of crimes related to consensual homosexual activity.
U.K. Home Secretary Priti Patel, a Tory cabinet member noted in a statement released Monday: “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.”
There were initially only nine crimes involving homosexual sex that were pardonable starting in 2012. Then in 2017, Parliament passed and the Queen gave Royal Assent to a law named after the famed gay mathematician, pioneering computer scientist and Second World War codebreaker Dr. Alan Turing. Known as ‘Turing’s law,’ it granted posthumous pardons to others who were convicted of sexual acts that are no longer deemed criminal under British law.
However, activists and civil rights/LGBTQ campaigners argued the crimes covered by the scheme were too narrow as the law only covered nine former offences included on a specified list, with a large focus on the repealed offences of buggery and gross indecency between men, PinkNewsUK reported.
PinkNewsUK also reported that the amendment will broaden the criteria to “include any repealed or abolished civilian or military offence imposed on someone purely for, or due to, consensual homosexual activity.”
“Conditions will still need to be met in order for a disregard and pardon to be granted, including that the sexual activity must not constitute an offence today and anyone else involved must have been aged 16 or over.”
Word of the decision was celebrated by the co-founder of the U.K. LGBT rights organization Stonewall, Out member of the House of Lords, Michael Maurice Cashman on Twitter:
“Six years work by Lord Lexden, Prof Paul Johnson of Leeds, & me to widen pardons & disregards for historical homosexual convictions to become law. The U.K. did so much wrong; reputations & lives can finally be uplifted.”