Gay and bisexual men convicted of long-abolished sexual offences are pardoned

As LGBT+ history month begins, we are greeted with the news that thousands of gay and bisexual men convicted of now-abolished sexual offences have been posthumously pardoned.

Dubbed the “Alan Turing law”, this will affect those convicted for consensual same-sex relationships before homosexuality was decriminalised in England and Wales in 1967. It comes after decades of campaigning from the LGBT community and after the family of the Enigma code breaker Alan Turing delivered a petition to Downing Street before the 2015 general election.

Public pressure led to the major political parties pledging to introduce the “Alan Turing law” – in memory to the man Winston Churchill described as making “the single biggest contribution to the allied victory” in the Second World War. The pardons, first announced last year, have now been officially rubber-stamped after the Policing and Crime Bill received Royal Assent. It enshrines in law pardons for those convicted of consensual same-sex relationships before laws were changed.

The new law will also see statutory pardons granted to the living. However, this will only apply in cases where individuals have successfully applied through the Home Office’s disregard process to have historic offences removed.

LGBT 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.”

What do you make of this landmark decision? Should the government go a step further and apologise, or is the pardon enough? Let us know in the comments or get in touch on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.