MSPs seek views on bill to pardon gay men convicted under discriminatory laws

24 November 2017, 07:09

The Scottish Parliament at Holyrood

Gay men who will be pardoned under new legislation to right past discrimination have been urged to contact a Holyrood committee.

The invitation has been issued by MSPs on the parliament's Equalities and Human Rights Committee who will be scrutinising the Historical Sexual Offences (Pardons and Disregards) Bill.

The Bill will automatically pardon gay men convicted under historical discriminatory laws and will also allow for past convictions of this nature to be legally disregarded, or removed from criminal records.

The committee wants to hear views on the legislation from the public, particularly those who will be directly affected.

One of the issues under consideration is whether the Bill goes far enough to address past wrongs under discriminatory laws.

Convener Christina McKelvie MSP said: "This Bill sets out to correct a historic injustice by ensuing that convictions don't continue to harm the lives of men convicted of acts which are no longer a crime.

"It is very important that we learn the lessons of how these discriminatory laws impacted on the lives of people so that we don't repeat the mistakes of the past.

"As a committee, we will be spending a few months looking at the details of the Bill so we can consider any areas which may need to be improved or changed. We want to hear from anyone who has a view on the Bill.

"We are especially anxious to hear from men who will receive a pardon and who may wish to apply for a disregard of their criminal records.

"If you, or someone close to you, will be impacted by the Bill we urge you to take part in our work. We will treat your personal stories with sensitivity."