Sturgeon to formally apologise to convicted gay men

Sturgeon to formally apologise to convicted gay men

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is to issue a formal apology today to gay and bisexual men who were convicted in the past of sexual offences which today are no longer illegal.

Her apology will coincide with today’s legislation to automatically pardon any gay man convicted of having consensual sex with another man.

Consensual sex acts between men over 21 were only decriminalised in 1981, 14 years after they were decriminalised in England and Wales.

The Historical Sexual Offences (Pardons and Disregards) Bill will provide an automatic pardon to any men who were convicted under the former laws. This will apply to all men, living or dead.

They would also be able to apply to have their convictions removed from the central convictions records.

Scottish Justice Secretary Michael Matheson said: “These discriminatory laws, although abolished, continue to have implications for people to this day and it is only right that we address this historic wrong, which criminalised people simply because of who they loved.”

In a statement Stonewall Scotland welcomed the news and said: “The First Minister’s apology is an important moment, both for the LGBT community and for Scotland. Gay and bi men in Scotland were criminalised for a very long time simply for who they were and who they loved.

“This apology will give a great deal of comfort to many who were unjustly prosecuted, and will help draw a line, once and for all, under a dark period in Scotland’s history.”