British gay and bisexual men convicted of having consensual same-sex relationships under now abolished laws will be able to remove their sentences from public records, the UK government reported Tuesday.
The ad expands on a program launched a decade ago that granted pardons to gay men convicted of “gross indecency” and “sodomy.” It will now cover all other convictions related to consensual same-sex sexual activity.
If someone has been convicted of a crime under these now-dismissed laws, they can request that it be ignored and expunged from their criminal record and not required to be disclosed, The Guardian reported.
The Minister of the Interior, Priti Patel He said the measure was aimed at “correcting the mistakes of the past.” “It is fair that, when crimes have been abolished, convictions for consensual sexual activity between same-sex couples are also discarded,” he added.
The UK has recently taken a number of steps to tackle discrimination against LGBT + people in the past, such as allowing LGBT + people to Dismissed homosexual members of the armed forces request the return of their medals.
Legislators and LGBT + activists said that expanding the pardon policy could help thousands of gay and bisexual men who have had difficulty finding work during their working lives due to such convictions.
“It is very important for the state to recognize that, as a country, we did something that was totally wrong and inappropriate,” said Michael Cashman, a member of the upper house of the British Parliament.
“It has been six long years of work”, Cashman, founder of the LGBT + rights organization Stonewall, who worked on politics with fellow House of Lords Alistair Cooke, said by phone.
The change will mean gay men who were subjected to the prostitution ban will also have their convictions overturned, said Paul Johnson, an academic who worked with Cashman and Cooke.
The Interior Ministry said conditions for a indifference and pardon to be granted, including that anyone else involved must have been 16 years or older and that sexual activity must not constitute a crime today.