Scottish Government should consider pardons for gay men
Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale has called on the Scottish Government to explore legal options to pardon gay men convicted of now-abolished offences.
Ms Dugdale has submitted a parliamentary question asking ministers if they will ‘quash the convictions and cautions issued to people for now-abolished gay sexual offences and issue pardons’.
The UK Government has this week announced that gay and bisexual men convicted of now-abolished sexual offences in England and Wales are to receive posthumous pardons.
In 2013, World War Two code-breaker Alan Turing was pardoned for gross indecency.
Thousands of living men convicted over same-sex relationships will also be eligible for a pardon.
A Private Member’s Bill from SNP MP John Nicolson, proposing an automatic pardon for the living, was debated in the Commons today.
The Sexual Offences Act decriminalised private homosexual acts between men aged over 21 in England and Wales in 1967, but the law was not changed in Scotland until 1980.
Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale said:
“I very much welcome the news that gay and bisexual men convicted in England and Wales are to receive posthumous pardons, and that thousands of men who are still alive will become eligible for a pardon.
I also congratulate John Nicolson on his attempt to introduce automatic pardons.
Such steps have been a long time coming. Alan Turing is a British hero who deserves to be remembered for what he did for our country, not remembered because of his sexuality.
The same is true for the countless other men who contributed to our society, and I hope the new measures will bring comfort to many families.
But, sadly, Scotland trails behind England and Wales when it comes to righting this wrong.
I urge the Scottish Government to explore every option to ensure that men in Scotland can receive pardons. The SNP will have the full support of Scottish Labour in this objective.”