In a victory for the LGBTQ community, U.K. citizens who in the past were convicted of crimes related to consensual homosexual activity will soon be eligible for pardons.
The pardons will come about through an amendment to the U.K.’s Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill. While certain convictions related to homosexual activity have been eligible for pardons since 2012, only nine specific offenses qualified until now.
The new amendment will be more comprehensive and pardon any conviction over homosexual activity that is no longer a crime today and that did not involve anyone under the age of 16, according to Pink News. Posthumous pardons will also be granted.
In a statement, British Home Secretary Priti Patel declared, “It is only right that where offenses have been abolished, convictions for consensual activity between same-sex partners should be disregarded too.”
“I hope that expanding the pardons and disregards scheme will go some way to righting the wrongs of the past and to reassuring members of the LGBT+ community that Britain is one of the safest places in the world to call home.”
Michael Cashman – co-founder of U.K. LGBTQ rights organization Stonewall and a member of the House of Lords who fought for these pardons – celebrated the news on Twitter, praising the “6 years of work” by several politicians to make this happen.
“UK did so much wrong,” Cashman wrote, “reputations & lives can finally be uplifted. So much more to do.”
Breaking news: 6 years work by Lord Lexden, Prof Paul Johnson of Leeds, & me to widen pardons & disregards for historical homosexual convictions to become law. UK did so much wrong; reputations & lives can finally be uplifted. So much more to do. Enormous thnx to @SusanBaroness
— Michael Cashman (@mcashmanCBE) January 4, 2022
In the replies to Cashman’s post, others also rejoiced at the news.
“Thanks to all involved in bringing about this measure of justice absolving people of what should never have been considered crimes,” responded fellow House of Lords member Chris Rennard. “The prejudice behind such abhorrent laws is shocking, is much less prevalent today, but still needs tackling.”
Well done @mcashmanCBE & thanks to all involved in bringing about this measure of justice absolving people of what should never have been considered crimes. The prejudice behind such abhorrent laws is shocking, is much less prevalent today, but still needs tackling @stonewalluk pic.twitter.com/laoartSL7x
— Chris Rennard 🔶💙 (@LordRennard) January 4, 2022
“As a gay man I want to thank you and all those who have worked on this campaign,” another user wrote. “This news makes me feel proud. It is a vindication for all of us in the continuing battle against discrimination.”
This is a tremendous achievement that rights an historic legal wrong.
As a gay man I want to thank you and all those have worked on this campaign.
This news makes me feel proud. It is a vindication for all of us in the continuing battle against discrimination.
— Mark H (@ffsake) January 4, 2022