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Only 65 gay men have had past convictions under gross indecency laws overturned

2015-05-03
Only 65 of an estimated 49,000 people persecuted for being gay have had their past convictions lifted. The family of celebrated codebreaker Alan Turing delivered a petition to Downing Street in February, calling for the posthumous pardon he had received to be extended to all gay men. enhanced-buzz-30805-1381915722-34 Hoever, figures obtained by the Observer have revealed that only a small number have successfully applied to have their convictions overturned under the provisions of the Protection of Freedoms Act (2012). Home Office figures, revealed through a freedom of information request, confirm that there have been 233 applications. Of those: - 35 were rejected because the activity took place in a public lavatory - 21 were rejected because the offences ere not eligible - 100 were rejected because the offences were unrelated to the provisions of the act (shoplifting / assault etc) - Six declined because the activity was non-consenual - One declined because the other person was under 16 Campaigner Peter Thatchell has called on the government to better promote the process, while expressing disappointment in the rejections. "I am especially surprised and shocked that the rejected applications include those made by men convicted of ‘soliciting’ gay sex. In most cases, this merely involved gay men meeting each other in the street or a park, which was a criminal offence until 2003, punishable by up to two years in jail," he told the paper. "No sex was involved. Many men are reluctant to revisit long-ago convictions that they'd rather forget, given that at the time they caused most of them great shame and trauma - in many cases involving not only fines or jail but also the loss of their jobs, homes, marriages and reputations." Attitude's editor Matthew Todd, who delivered the petition to Downing Street alongside Turing's family added: "It's not surprising that these numbers are low. The government hasn't made it clear enough that individuals can apply." The act had already been criticised for failing to include the deceased, which led to the petition which has gathered over 600,000 signatures. Ahead of the General Election, Labour said that they would introduce a "Turing Law", offering posthumous pardons, while the Conservatives also plan to extend the measures to relaives of the deceased. More Stories: