A Holyrood committee has given its backing to legislation that will pardon gay men wronged by past discrimination. MSPs on the parliament’s Equalities and Human Rights Committee have unanimously supported the general principles of the Historical Sexual Offences (Pardons and Disregards) Bill. The Bill will automatically pardon gay men convicted under historical discriminatory laws and will also allow them to apply for past convictions of this nature to be legally disregarded, or removed from criminal records.
A report following the committee’s scrutiny of the legislation said it was “long overdue and welcome”.
The last anti-gay references were only removed from the criminal statute book in Scotland in late 2013, and Police Scotland have identified up to 1,261 offences recorded against 994 people which fall within the scope of the Bill. MSPs heard evidence from two anonymous witnesses who spoke about the long-term impact of their historical sexual convictions.