A Scottish National Party MP has today introduced a private member’s bill in the UK parliament to automatically pardon all gay and bisexual men who were cautioned or convicted under homophobic laws which are no longer on the statute book.
John Nicolson MP, the SNP spokesperson on Culture, topped the ballot for private members’ bills and is now building cross-party support for the Bill.
He bill dubbed the “Turing Law”, is named after the pioneering British Computer scientist Alan Turing who was prosecuted and castrated under laws which criminalised sex between consenting adult men.
While Alan Turing received a Royal Pardon and government apology in 2014, the SNP are building on previous proposal by the Liberal Democrats and Labour (which did not make into law due to Conservative opposition) that thousands of other gay and bisexual men convicted under the same or similar homophobic laws have not also been granted a pardon and apology.
The Bill will have its Second Reading on Friday 21 October. If passed, it would see automatic pardons for such cautions and convictions.
Commenting Nicolson MP said: “We have made huge progress towards achieving LGBTI equality in recent years, with historic changes in laws and attitudes that have seen Scotland now become the best country in Europe for LGBTI legal rights and with the rest of the UK close behind.
“Despite this welcome and hard-won progress we must never forget the appalling way that LGBTI people have been treated in the UK in our recent past and throughout history.
“The criminalisation of thousands of gay and bisexual men, who were cautioned, convicted, imprisoned and even castrated under homophobic laws that banned sex between consenting adult men is a blemish on our history that we must now apologise and atone for as a society.
“While nothing we do now can fully make amends for the cruel discrimination that these men suffered, I hope that this Bill goes some way towards redressing these wrongs and gives a sense of closure for these men and their families.”