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Britain to Enable Pardons, Expunge Records for Persons Convicted of Same-Sex Contact Under Repealed Laws

Anyone convicted of consensual same-sex sexual activity under abolished laws in England and Wales will soon be eligible to be pardoned and have their records wiped, the BritishHome Office said in a news release Tuesday.

“It is only right that where offences have been abolished, convictions for consensual activity between same-sex partners should be disregarded too,” British Home Secretary Priti Patel said in a statement.

“I hope that expanding the pardons and disregards scheme will go some way to righting the wrongs of the past and to reassuring members of the LGBT community that Britain is one of the safest places in the world to call home,” Patel said.

Since 2012, people convicted under a narrower set of repealed offenses — including sodomy and gross indecency between men — have been eligible to apply to have their convictions disregarded.

The government will introduce an amendment to scrap this list and broaden eligibility to include anyone convicted or cautioned for an abolished civil or military offense related to consensual same-sex sexual activity. Those eligible would have the convictions wiped from their records.

The amendment would apply to civilians in England and Wales and people convicted of military offenses anywhere in Britain. Northern Ireland and Scotland have separate disregard and pardon schemes.

The plan will also grant a posthumous pardon to anyone who has died before the amendment comes into force or as many as 12 months afterward. The Home Office statement said the government would confirm the plan this week.

People must still go through an application process to have their records wiped, and any party involved in the activity in question must have been 16 or older and the sexual activity must be legal today.

Read entire article at Washington Post