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Ed Miliband backs campaign for British gay sex pardons

2015-03-03
Ed Miliband has told Attitude that he supports pardoning the thousands of men convicted under Britain's historic anti-gay sex laws, on a case-by-case basis. The Labour Party leader said that all families should be able to receive the same solace that Alan Turing's family received after he was officially pardoned by the Queen in December 2013, and that a future Labour Government would offer posthumous pardons to those convicted of consensual homosexual sexual activity under historic "gross indecency" legislation. Ed Miliband "I definitely think we’ve got to go further", Miliband said. "What I believe is that what Alan Turing’s family were able to bring about for him, other families should be able to bring about for their loved ones who were discriminated against, who were vilified in a way that was grossly unfair, grossly unequal, and wrong. "So therefore if you are living or dead, I think it should be possible to have that pardon; the thing that was done for Alan Turing. We should be able to do it more widely." The Labour Party has pledged support for the the right of families to apply for a pardon on a case-by-case basis, explaining that a blanket pardon could risk overturning convictions for other offences that fell under the heading of "gross indecency". In 2012, the law was changed to give the 16,000 men still alive the right to have their conviction overturned through the Protection of Freedoms Act, but records still cannot be expunged posthumously. Labour says they will assess the legislation to see how it can be applied to convicted individuals who have since passed away. Miliband's declaration of support comes just a week after the family of WWII codebreaker Alan Turing, joined by Attitude editor Matthew Todd, delivered a petition to Downing Street calling for the men to be pardoned, which had been signed by more than half a million people. The Pardon 49k campaign calls for pardons for all men convicted under Britain's anti-gay "gross indecency" laws before 1967, following Turing's own pardon. The number of signatures on the petition – signed by people in at least 74 countries – currently stands at more than 589,000. The campaign - which a survey recently showed is supported by two-thirds of the British public - has also been backed by Stephen Fry, as well as Benedict Cumberbatch, who starred in last year's Oscar-winning Alan Turing biopic The Imitation Game. More stories: Attitude's new columnist Daniel Franzese: 'Why my dad won't watch 'Looking' Carly Rae Jepsen debuts comeback single 'I Really Like You'