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07/11/17 09:11

Pardon for gay men convicted under abolished laws

Historical Sexual Offences Bill published.

Legislation to provide gay men convicted under historical discriminatory laws with an automatic pardon has been published.

The Historical Sexual Offences (Pardons and Disregards) Bill will also enable men to apply to have convictions for same-sex sexual activity that is now legal removed from central criminal conviction records.

The bill delivers on a commitment made in the Programme for Government when it was published in September.

Cabinet Secretary for Justice Michael Matheson said:

“Scotland is an open and tolerant society, committed to respecting, protecting and implementing human rights and demonstrating equality, dignity and respect in everything we do.

“These discriminatory laws, although abolished, continue to have implications for people to this day and it is only right that we address this historic wrong, which criminalised people simply because of who they loved.

“I am pleased to introduce this bill, which is an important step towards correcting that injustice.”

Tim Hopkins, Director of the Equality Network, said:

“This very welcome bill will be of direct importance to hundreds of people with past criminal convictions for the kinds of relationships that were perfectly legal for their heterosexual friends.

“More widely, it is a clear statement that Scotland considers the discrimination of the past to be wrong and unacceptable, and now understands LGBTI people to be equal citizens who deserve equal respect.”

Background

Historical Sexual Offences (Pardons and Disregards) Bill