The SNP deputy leader has said that gay men who were convicted under historic anti-gay laws should receive an apology.
These comments from Angus Robertson come shortly after the announcement from the SNP that they intend to follow the UK with it’s own pardons law, but at the time they did not commit to making apologies.
He said to PinkNews: “Of course people should receive an apology. Governments have shown that it’s possible to apologise for the wrongs of the past, of the previous generations of decision makers.”
“I think we live in an age now, fortunately, where most, especially the newer generation of people in public life in this country, are significantly more liberal and enlightened than past generations. I do not understand what is difficult about apologising for the wrongs of the past. I think it would send a strong message.”
You may recall how, on Friday, UK justice minister Sam Gyimah blocked the SNP bill to automatically pardon people convicted under historic laws. The UK’s own Turing Law does require gay men to apply for a pardon, rather than it being issued automatically. This is due to concerns of people with legitimate convictions getting pardoned alongside them.
As well as discussing the plans for the pardons, Robertson also touched on the repeated efforts by the DUP to block same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland.
He said: “The SNP has had serious differences with the DUP on many issues. We are a socially liberal party, they are not. We differ on that as we do on other things. I’m in favour of same-sex marriage, and I’m in favour of people being able to get married wherever they live. Of course one has to respect the fact that different parts of the world have different approaches to different issues, but I would very much welcome progress in Northern Ireland.”
“Clearly Northern Ireland still has some way to go to join Scotland, and indeed England and Wales, and the changes that there have been in recent years. I think in time we will look back at the way that LGBTI people were treated in the same way as we look back at slavery and other forms of discrimination and just shake our heads, and think: ‘How could that ever have been so?’”