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Campaigners celebrate extended pardons for abolished gay sex offences

Anyone convicted of consensual homosexual activity under now-abolished laws will receive a full pardon.

2022-01-04

Words: Alastair James; pictures: Pexels

LGBTQ campaigners are celebrating the news that anyone convicted for now-abolished offences can apply to have them removed and receive a full pardon.

Announcing the extension of the pardon scheme, Home Secretary Priti Patel said she hopes it will help with "righting the wrongs of the past".

Previously, only those convicted of nine offences including buggery and gross indecency were able to apply, but this will now be widened.

"So much more to do"

Taking to Twitter on Tuesday (4 January), Lord Michael Cashman, who’s been at the head of a campaign to get all historical convictions removed for a number of years, said there "was so much more to do".

Later he tweeted: "I now focus on ensuring this becomes law, and addressing the grotesque inequality faced by trans people. Together. Only together". 

Lord Cashman also paid tribute to Lord Lexden and Professor Paul Johnson from the University of York for their work in also leading the campaign.

Under the newly announced extension of the Disregards and Pardon scheme, anyone convicted of consensual homosexual activity when they were 16 and above will be pardoned and anyone who has died will be given a posthumous pardon.

The Home Secretary, Priti Patel, said, as quoted by The Independent: "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."

In 2017 'Turing’s Law' named after the Second World War gay hero, Alan Turing, granted some people pardons, but campaigners argued it didn’t go far enough.

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