HISTORIC wounds have been “healed over” by pardoning and apologising to all of those convicted under anti-gay laws in Scotland, MSP Rona Mackay has said.
First minister Nicola Surgeon’s apology coincided with new legislation that will automatically pardon gay and bisexual men convicted under historical laws.
The Historical Sexual Offences (Pardons and Disregards) Bill will also allow the removal of the convictions from criminal records.
Consensual homosexual acts between men older than 21-years old in Scotland were only decriminalised in 1981. It was not until 20 years later that the age of consent for gay men was lowered to 16.
Ms Mackay said: “By apologising, Nicola Sturgeon has healed over the historical scars Scotland has with treatment of gay and bisexual men.
“Not long ago, in most people’s lifetime, Scotland had laws against consensual same-sex acts which people were convicted of.
“These now abolished laws still affect people living in Scotland today, and can be obstacles in their lives. For example, finding work.
“This has been an issue close to the SNP’s heart, we have seen tremendous work from our elected representatives. This includes former MP for East Dunbartonshire, John Nicolson, who put the Turing Bill to the House of Commons, which would have wiped clean the criminal records of thousands of gay men convicted for same-sex offences. Sadly, the Bill was talked out by the Tories, so failed.
“I could not be happier that we are finally pardoning and apologising to all of those affected and the wider LGBT community in Scotland.”
From Rona Mackay MSP by Alan Ferguson 07342 061722