Gay men with old convictions urged to seek pardon

Our “Age of Consent and Sexual Offences” page has much information on the recent law change in the UK which allowed men with convictions for old offences no longer on the statute book, to apply to have their records updated accordingly.

The Guardian have some updated stats.

A freedom of information request submitted to the Home Office shows there have been 233 applications to have convictions “disregarded” under the provisions of the Protection of Freedoms Act (2012). Part 5 of the act was designed for men who were given criminal records for participating in consensual same-sex relationships. Of the 233 applications, 35 were rejected on the basis the activity took place in a public lavatory, which remains an offence under section 71 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003. A total of 21 were rejected because the offences were not eligible. The Home Office states “soliciting” as an example. A sizable proportion – 100 – were rejected as the offences were unrelated to the provisions of the act. In these instances, people convicted of shoplifting and assault applied. A further six were declined because the activity was non-consensual, and one because the other party was under 16.

There has been a growing campaign in recent months to have a general pardon to all convicted gay men. The campaign is not expected to go away after the general election.


Ireland could vote for gay marriage

The Republic of Ireland’s referendum on same sex marriage is to be held on May 22nd. Current prediction is that the “yes” vote is leading at 70%.

In a series of recent opinion polls, support for gay marriage in Ireland has stood at around 70% of the electorate although among older voters there is a small majority who will vote no,

notes The Guardian.


Gay + Old + Cold = Death

Today’s i newspaper notes that during December 2014 to March 2015,

The number of excess winter deaths surged to 49,260, of which 14,780 were due to people living in cold homes.

14,780. That is:

1,130 a week

164 a day

7 an hour

One person died every eight and a half minutes because they were cold.

Our pages on “Age” and “Social Exclusion” contain lots of information on the problems faced by older members of the gay community. Too many gay people face hunger, poverty, loneliness and deprivation in their old age. They face an early death as well, if they cannot keep warm. All of us, gay groups, gay activists and advocates, and individuals, must do more to reach out, befriend and support them.

Well, thank you!

Traffic for Gay Activist has doubled since I came out of hospital at the beginning of February. Thanks for supporting Gay Activist. Paul

Another missed opportunity, David

David Cameron | Getty | Daily Express | Retrieved

The Prime Minister David Cameron has told Pink News that he will, if his government is re-elected, ban gay cure and ex-gay treatments if a government led by him needed to legislate to “protect people from harm”.

Conversion therapies which seek to change a person’s sexuality are not endorsed or supported by health authorities in the UK, and the NHS in England has signed up to a memorandum of understanding that conversion therapies are unethical and potentially harmful.

What a pity his government failed to support the Counsellors and Psychotherapists Bill, which was introduced in the UK Parliament in October 2013 to increase regulation of therapists and make ex-gay treatments such as “conversion therapy” a crime. Unfortunately the Bill only received a first reading, then was killed because no time was made available for it.

Mr Cameron told Pink News that he strongly disagreed with anyone who thought that homosexuality was a disease which needed to be “cured”.

There is a wealth of information on this subject on our “Gay “cure” and ex-gay” page.

27/04/15 – Snapped

Olivier Douliery — MCT/McClatchy DC

The US Supreme Court heard the evidence and arguments for and against gay marriage on Tuesday, 27 April 2015. A decision is expected in the summer. If the Supreme Court rules in favour, gay marriage will become legal throughout the US.

EU Court backs blood donation bans

Yesterday the European Court of Justice ruled that in certain circumstances, the bans on gay men donating blood were legal. Gay or bisexual men can be banned from donating blood, but only if there are no less onerous ways to protect the health of blood recipients.

Scientific evidence that gay men are indeed at a higher risk of carrying serious infectious diseases, such as HIV, can justify a ban in national legislation.

The ruling comes as many countries are loosening restrictions on blood donations from gay or bisexual men.

UKIP promise Christians to legalise anti-gay discrimination – just for them

UKIP, the party who want to discriminate against all kinds of people have now turned their attention to us. The Daily Telegraph notes that

Workers with traditional views on marriage would have the right to refuse to carry out tasks which they believe would amount to condoning same-sex unions, under plans put forward by Ukip. The party outlined proposals to introduce a form of conscience clause into equality law as part of its “Christian Manifesto”, which calls for a return to a “muscular” idea of Christianity…. Ukip said it would extend the concept of “reasonable accommodation” – the idea that employers and other bodies should make allowances for people’s beliefs if doing so does not impose an undue burden – in disputes over same-sex marriage.

You have been warned!

Amnesty calls NI a “backwater”

Northern Ireland is a discriminatory backwater for gay people, says a spokesman from Amnesty International, quoted in this morning’s paper. Amnesty warned that a legal challenge would be made if the Northern Ireland Assembly rejected a motion to introduce gay marriage. Patrick Corrigan, who is Amnesty’s Programme Director, said:

“Marriage should be available to same-sex couples in Northern Ireland, just as it is in Scotland, England and Wales and may soon be in the Republic of Ireland.”

Not all dinosaurs are extinct, unfortunately

The BBC Reports that:

Police are investigating comments made by Northern Ireland Health Minister Jim Wells after he linked child abuse and gay relationships.

He told a hustings event: “You don’t bring a child up in a homosexual relationship. That a child is far more likely to be abused and neglected….”  The minister was then interrupted by uproar from the audience.

In a later statement, he said: “I accept that one line of what I said caused offence and deep concern. I regret having wrongly made that remark about abuse and I’m sorry those words were uttered. The comment did not reflect my view nor that of my party. Mask has slipped.”

If it wasn’t his view, why did he say it? Again and again in recent months, we have seen the same pattern: say something you hope to get away with, then, when you fail to do so, issue an apology.