Potential good news from Sri Lanka

After a number of recommendations from the United Nations, the Sri Lankan government plans to decriminalize homosexuality.

Gay sex is currently illegal in Sri Lanka under the “gross indecency” law inherited from the country’s colonial past.

Deputy Solicitor General, Nerin Pulle, has pledged to reassess and change the country’s penal code in response to their third Universal Periodic Review, the United Nations Human Rights Council process in which U.N. countries scrutinize the human rights records of other U.N. members.

The Sri Lankan government received seven specific recommendations to amend penal code sections that criminalize consensual same-sex sexual activity, which is currently punishable by up to 10 years in prison. Other recommendations aimed to help fight anti-LGBT discrimination.



Scotland apologises

Scotland’s first minister Ms Sturgeon will apologise on behalf of the Scottish government to gay men convicted prior to 2001 under discriminatory laws against same-sex sexual activity that is now legal, on 7 November. It coincides with new legislation giving an automatic pardon to those affected.
The legislation was promised by Ms Sturgeon when she presented her programme for government in September.

Such crimes will be removed from criminal records.


Turings Law for Scotland

Gay men who were convicted of same-sex offences in Scotland while homosexuality was illegal in Scotland are to receive full pardons.

The Scottish government will announce a new bill next week to enable all convicted gay men in Scotland to receive a formal pardon. Men still living would be able to apply for a “disregard” to remove convictions from their record. In order to check that offences are not still illegal, such as non-consensual sex and sex with someone under 16, living persons would have to apply and be checked.

The Scottish bill will be slightly different from the new legislation in England and Wales which only “automatically” pardons those who died before February this year.

Nevertheless it is welcome news.


Kiwis say sorry

New Zealand’s MPs unanimously apologized today for the “tremendous hurt and suffering” of hundreds of New Zealand men who were convicted of homosexuality during the years it was treated as a crime.

The NZ Parliament issued a formal apology to all those unfairly convicted under the old laws, and approved the first stage of a bill that will allow the men to have their criminal records wiped clean.

“Today we are putting on the record that this House deeply regrets the hurt and stigma suffered by the many hundreds of New Zealand men who were turned into criminals by a law that was profoundly wrong, and for that we are sorry,” said Justice Minister Amy Adams.


At last, justice in Germany


Nazi era gay prisoners with their pink triangles | Public domain | 17116

After decades of lobbying, Germany’s parliament has voted to quash the convictions of 50,000 gay men sentenced for homosexuality under the Nazi-era law known as article 175 of the penal code that remained in force after the second world war.

An estimated 5,000 of those found guilty under the statute are still alive, and can now clear their names.

Gay men convicted under the law are also to receive a lump sum of €3,000 and an additional €1,500 for each year they spent in prison.


Pardons by numbers

The “Turing Law”, or to give it its correct name the Police and Crime Act 2017, which grants automatic pardons to gay men who were convicted of obsolete sexual crimes under the old Sexual Offences Acts and who have since died, and allows living convictees to apply for a pardon, has received the Royal Assent.

Gay Activist understands that pardons have been automatically granted to 59,000 men who have died.

16,000 men who are still alive will be asked to fill out a form to have the conviction removed from criminal records.


Kiwis get Turing law


Amy Adams | Radio New Zealand | 17028

New Zealand will quash historical convictions for consensual sex between men. In 1986 the Homosexual Law Reform Act was passed, decriminalising sex between men above 16 years old.

Justice Minister Amy Adams said an application process will be introduced and cases will be judged individually.

Convictions for consensual sex between men prior to that will still appear in criminal history checks and may have to be disclosed in job applications.

About 1,000 people could be eligible to apply.