Scotland apologises for gay convictions

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By Emma Beswick
Scotland apologises for gay convictions

Scotland’s devolved government today (November 7) issued an apology to men that had previously been convicted of same-sex activity that is no longer illegal.

It simultaneously passed new legislation that would allow them to clear their names and see such convictions wiped from criminal records.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon told the country’s parliament that it was only right that they address the “historic wrong,” adding “I categorically, unequivocally and wholeheartedly apologise for those laws and for the hurt and the harm they did to so many.”

“Discriminatory laws, although abolished, continue to have implications for people to this day,” she added. “The wrong has been committed by the state to them, not by the individuals.”

Same-sex couples watching from the gallery held hands, wept and applauded the final announcement.

Consensual homosexual acts between men aged over 21 in Scotland were decriminalised in 1981.

Gay rights group Stonewall said in a statement: “(The) 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.”

In January 2017, the UK government passed a similar law concerning England and Wales.