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Petition for Pardon


Nigel Gordon

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Stephen Fry has launched a petition requesting the pardon of all gay men who were convicted under the England's Gross Indecency laws. A pardon has been granted to Alan Turing, but why should he be a special case. If it was wrong to convict Alan Turing under these laws it was also wrong to convict all the other men who were convicted.

If you want to read more about this or to sign the petition follow this link:

https://www.change.org/p/british-government-pardon-all-of-the-estimated-49-000-men-who-like-alan-turing-were-convicted-of-consenting-same-sex-relations-under-the-british-gross-indecency-law-only-repealed-in-2003-and-also-all-the-other-men-convicted-under-other-uk-anti-gay-la-2?utm_source=action_alert&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=242951&alert_id=VYpXlQTDsg_OeCCwOA2enlQYr5Z8jfeYUu1RutXHsUIKB5wPnvjXlJGv6S4HPhJd1LesLPvn5Jv

This has a particular interest for me, a friend and his partner were convicted under these laws when they were 17. They both spent a period in prison. After their release and once they had got their life back together my friend went on to university and got a First Class Degree and then a DipEd. He spent nearly thirty years teaching and during the whole of that time he was openly living with his partner. When CRB checks were introduced for teachers, his check showed he had been convicted of a sexual offense in 1967, as a result he was unable to get work. He has also been prevented from undertaken any voluntary work with young people, even though he had been actively involved in youth work for over thirty years with no adverse reports, in actual fact he had been given an OBE for his services to youth work. You may wonder what was the nature of the act which resulted in this, him and his partner were seen kissing in the privacy of their flat.

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I've signed this too. I hope there are many still alive who can actually benefit from such a pardon in meaningful ways. Alan Turing can't.

I would like to say in passing that I'm not a great fan of current politicians trying to re-write history. Turing is dead because the homophobic British State authorities of the ealy post-war period all treated him appallingly. However that was the reality of our society at the time and no one should be allowed to forget it or be lulled into thinking that granting posthumous pardons in anyway mitigates the cruel and small-minded intollerance that was the accepted societal norm for my parents generation.

BTW. Alan Turing has always been an enigma (pun intended) and IMHO his sad story has unfortunately somewhat obscured the parts that many others played in the code-cracking successes of Bletchly Park. Building Colossus to break the German High Command's Lorenz Cipher "Fish" without ever seeing one of the machines was a stunning collective effort and although Alan Turing was involved I would have to say that my personal heroes in that story would be the brilliant Tommy Flowers and Bill Tutte.

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Those in the United States convicted for a sexual crime end up on the register of sex offenders...for life. There is no pardon since there is not a governor in the country that would sign one for a sex offender. Even though the US Supreme Court did away with sodomy laws across the country there are still state laws in effect, and they can be devastating.

Having said all that, the President could issue pardons if the system wasn't so screwed up. The sex offender list is massive and some predatory individuals belong there, but not two gay people who were engaging in consensual sex. It would take years to review each case from the past and some states are still arresting people. Read the following if you really, really want to get pissed off:

http://equalitymatters.org/blog/201108080012

I wish Mr. Fry and his compatriots well in seeking the pardons for those who were unjustly prosecuted. Nothing in governments works fast and an issue like this may seem unimportant to some. That's a greater transgression since prison is often a death sentence for anyone convicted of a sex crime.

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In most states if you're 15 years old and you have consensual sex with another 15 year old and his/her parents catch you and file a complaint and you're convicted, you end up on the sex offender list. That is so totally bogus.

Colin :icon_geek:

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To get back to the petition:

Oscar Wilde should be included in the call for pardons, as should all those prosecuted under this law.
As part of the campaign to recognise the injustice that was delivered, under the law, a demand should be made to all those countries that followed the English law, to repeal any remaining laws which persecute sexual orientation. A fitting retribution would be for each of those countries to immediately recognise marriage equality for same sex couples.
And that includes the U.S., Australia and India, as well as a number of African nations.
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