The First Minister of Scotland will apologise on behalf of the Scottish Government for the historic Criminalisation of homosexuality and those the historic laws affected, the apology coincides with the publication of new legislation to provide an automatic pardon to all those affected, the apology will be made at the Scottish Parliament on 7 November.

The legislation was promised by Ms Sturgeon when she presented her programme for government in September.

It will enable people to apply to have such convictions removed from central criminal conviction records.

A Scottish government spokesman said: “The First Minister will give a statement of apology to those convicted prior to 2001 under discriminatory laws against same-sex sexual activity that is now legal.

“The apology will be made on behalf of the Scottish government for the treatment of homosexual men under previous governments and will coincide with the introduction of legislation to provide people convicted under these laws an automatic pardon.

“The bill will right a historic wrong and give justice to those who found themselves unjustly criminalised simply because of who they loved.”

Plans for automatic pardons were announced just days after a similar legislation was scuppered at Westminster showing UK Government shame on the issue.

The private members’ bill would have pardoned all men living with UK convictions for same-sex offences committed before the law was changed.

The UK Government, which has its own plans for posthumous pardons, “talked out” the bill in the Commons, resulting in it falling at its first parliamentary hurdle.

Tim Hopkins, director of the Equality Network, said: “The apology is important because it shows that it was the discriminatory laws that were wrong and not the consensual relationships that were made criminal by those laws.

“We look forward to seeing the detail of the bill. If it implements the policy announced by the Scottish government, it will be a hugely important statement that Scotland regrets the discrimination of the past, and now considers its LGBTI people to be fully equal citizens who deserve equal respect.

“It will also be of direct practical importance to people who currently have one of these convictions show up on criminal record checks for jobs or volunteer posts.”


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