The U.K. is set to pardon thousands of men convicted in the past for engaging in consensual same-sex acts, in a move that will see the name of many who were convicted for conduct no longer deemed criminal posthumously cleared.
The BBC reports that the so-called Turing law comes three years after computer scientist Alan Turing, who broke Nazi German codes during World War II, received a royal pardon for his 1952 gross indecency conviction.
Living people who have been found guilty of these offenses can also apply to the British Home Office to have their relevant criminal records cleared — subject to a vetting process — and receive a legal pardon if their application is successful.
British Justice Minister Sam Gyimah said that it was “hugely important” to “pardon people convicted of historical sexual offense who would be innocent of any crime today,” according to the BBC.
However, he stressed that investigations prior to any living people receiving their pardon would be necessary, as a blanket pardon — as proposed by an MP in a Parliament bill — might see those convicted for still illegal acts be forgiven alongside those convicted for now-legal acts.
Consensual sexual acts between men over the age of 21 were decriminalized in England and Wales in 1967. The changes were applied to Scotland in 1980, and Northern Ireland in 1982.
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