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Calls for automatic pardons for historic gay sex convictions

2017-07-05
An LGBT+ charity is calling for automatic pardons for gay men convicted of sex offences before decriminalisation. Earlier this year, thousands of gay men were posthumously pardoned when the so-called 'Turing's Law' came into effect. The "historic moment" was confirmed by the Ministry of Justice after the Policing and Crime Bill received Royal Assent from the Queen. However, gay men who were convicted and are still living have to apply to have their convictions removed. Stonewall Cymru said that many of the men who were "unjustly persecuted" are not aware that the convictions still stand. This month marks the 50th anniversary of the partial decriminalisation of homosexuality in England and Wales. Mabli Jones of Stonewall Cymru said: "The change in the law was obviously a big step forward and we welcomed that and we were part of campaigning. "But there were so many men unjustly persecuted by these laws and they deserve to get them removed." She went on to say that the charity "would welcome" a change in the law to make the pardons automatic for everyone convicted. Legislation similar to Turing's Law is currently being considered in Canada. Canada's governing Liberal party, led by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, will introduce legislation later this year to pardon those convicted of historical sex acts with members of the same sex. Laws banning gay sex in Canada were repealed in 1969, but the convictions under the old legislation still stand. This new legislation would pardon those who were convicted of gross indecency under historical laws banning sexual acts between members of the same sex. Announcing the planned legislation, Trudeau said: “Our government will be moving forward with a process for the expungement of criminal convictions for Canadians who were unjustly convicted of a crime simply for who they were and who they loved. “We will acknowledge and apologize for the role played by legislation, programs and policies in the historical discrimination faced by (LGBTQ2) Canadians,” Trudeau said. “I believe that it’s essential to make amends for past wrongs, not to simply gloss over them.”