Accessibility links

UK Set to Pardon Thousands Convicted Under Past Anti-Gay Laws

  • VOA News

FILE - A notebook of British mathematician and pioneer in computer science Alan Turing is displayed in front of a photo of him during an auction preview in Hong Kong.

FILE - A notebook of British mathematician and pioneer in computer science Alan Turing is displayed in front of a photo of him during an auction preview in Hong Kong.

Britain will pardon thousands of men previously convicted for homosexuality under the new so-called “Turing Law,” named for Alan Turing, a well-known, gay British mathematician who helped crack the German Enigma code during World War II.

Under the plan announced Thursday, the government would pardon anyone who was previously convicted of consensual sex acts with a member of the same gender.

Those who are still alive can apply to have their records expunged through the “disregard process.” Those who have already died will receive an automatic posthumous pardon.

England and Wales decriminalized homosexual sex between men over the age of 21 in 1967. Scotland changed its law in 1980 and Northern Ireland did the same in 1982.

"It is hugely important that we pardon people convicted of historical sexual offenses who would be innocent of any crime today," Justice Minister Sam Gyimah said in a statement. "Through pardons and the existing disregard process we will meet our manifesto commitment to put right these wrongs."

Turing, who played a major role in the cracking of Nazi Germany’s Enigma code during World War II, was convicted of indecency in 1952 for his homosexuality. He was stripped of his security clearance and committed suicide two years later.

He was officially pardoned in 2013 by Queen Elizabeth.

XS
SM
MD
LG