Thousands of gay men could finally be pardoned for historical 'offences'


London — Theresa May's government is "committed" to a law that would pardon thousands of gay men convicted under historical gross indecency laws.

A spokesperson for Downing Street confirmed to Mashable reports that the legislation, called the "Alan Turing law", would be introduced "in due course".

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Turing, a World War Two codebreaker, was pardoned posthumously in 2013 after an official apology was made by Gordon Brown, then prime minister, in 2009. The mathematician had been convicted of gross indecency in 1952 after an affair with a 19-year-old man. He took his life two years later.

"This government is committed to introducing posthumous pardons for people with certain historical sexual offence convictions who would be innocent of any crime now," the spokesperson said. "We will bring forward our proposals in due course."

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Homosexuality was decriminalised in England in 1967, but thousands of people still have convictions for acts, the likes of which would not today be offences.

Backed by TV presenter Stephen Fry and actor Benedict Cumberbatch, who played Turing in the film The Imitation Game, the family of Turing have led a campaign to secure pardons for the 49,000 men convicted for similar 'crimes'.

The proposal was included in the 2015 Conservative manifesto and was supported by the Labour Party.

Turing's groundbreaking work helped Allied forces to read German naval messages enciphered with the Enigma machine during World War Two.

He also contributed other fundamental work on code breaking that was only released for public consideration in April 2012.