“Turing” Pardons for Scotland?

The Scottish Government have announced that they will introduce a bill to pardon people convicted of the historical discriminatory ‘homosexual’ offences.

The Historical Sexual Offences (Pardons and Disregards) (Scotland) Bill follows similar legislation for Wales and England, pioneered by Manchester MP John Leech which became part of the 2017 Policing and Crime Act.

This built on the pardon given to mathematician Alan Turing in 2013, generalising the principle of his pardon to extend it to around 50,000 people across Wales and England.

As with the clauses in the Policing & Crime Act, it is expected that there will be two sections to the Scottish legislation: one to give a formal, symbolic, pardon to any person who was convicted in the past for an offence related to sexual activity between adult males, if it is no longer a crime. The other part of the bill will allow people who receive the pardon to apply to have the details removed (“disregarded”) from their criminal record.

In the last century Scotland kept its homophobic laws longer, with the 1967 Sexual Offences Act not being extended north of the border until 1980. Since then things have been more mixed, with Scotland repealing Section 28 in 2000 (rest of Britain 2003). Same-sex marriage legislation is subtly different either side of the border, with Scotland’s laws less steeped in transphobia.

Scottish campaign group the Equality Network is conducting a short survey, here, seeking views on the new proposals for Scotland. Pop over and have your say?