UK issues posthumous pardons for thousands of gay, bisexual men

London [UK], Feb. 1 : Thousands of gay and bisexual men convicted of offences that once criminalised homosexuality have been posthumously pardoned under a new law.

A clause in the Policing and Crime Bill, which received royal assent on Tuesday, extends to those who are dead, reports the Guardian.

The general pardon is modelled on the 2013 royal pardon granted by the Queen to Alan Turing, the mathematician who broke the German Enigma codes during the Second World War.

He killed himself in 1954, at the age of 41, after his conviction for gross indecency. Dubbed the "Alan Turing law", it will act as an apology to those convicted for consensual same-sex relationships before homosexuality was decriminalised in England and Wales in 1967.

Welcoming the legislation, Justice Minister Sam Gyimah said: "This is a truly momentous day. We can never undo the hurt caused, but we have apologised and taken action to right these wrongs. I am immensely proud that 'Turing's law' has become a reality under this government." The new law will also see statutory pardons granted to those alive.

However, this will only apply in cases where individuals have successfully applied through the Home Office's disregard process to have historic offences removed.

Under the disregard process, anyone previously found guilty of past sexual offences that are no longer criminal matters can ask to have them removed.

A disregard can be granted only if the past offence was a consensual relationship and both men were over 16.

The conduct must also not constitute what remains an offence of sexual activity in a public lavatory. The Ministry of Justice said that there would be no historical limit in relation to past offences..

Source: ANI