Joan McAlpine MSP has welcomed a new scheme allowing men prosecuted for same-sex sexual activity under obsolete laws to have their convictions erased.
The Historical Sexual Offences (Pardons and Disregards) Act passed by the Scottish Parliament comes into force this week. It grants an automatic pardon to every gay and bisexual man in Scotland convicted under discriminatory laws.
Men with such convictions can now also apply to have them removed from central criminal records under a ‘disregards’ scheme.
Welcoming the news, McAlpine, SNP MSP for South Scotland said:
“I am delighted that legislation which was previously passed by the Scottish Parliament is now in force and that Gay and Bi-Sexual men who have lived with historic convictions for simply being themselves can now set the record straight.
“There is no place for homophobia in Scotland, and I would encourage all Gay and Bi-Sexual men with historic convictions for same-sex sexual activity to take advantage of the opportunity to clear their records of these discriminatory convictions.
“Information on how to apply to have these offences removed can be found on the MyGov.Scot Website.”
Same-sex sexual activity between men was made legal in Scotland in 1980 and the age of consent was equalised in 2001.
In November 2017, the First Minister issued an unqualified apology to those convicted of same-sex sexual activity that is now legal.
Under the Historical Sexual Offences (Pardons and Disregards) Act, which was passed unanimously in June 2018, the pardon is automatic as of 15 October 2019 .
Separately the disregards scheme, also in place from 15 October, will allow anyone with such a conviction to apply to have it ‘disregarded’ so that it will never show up on, for example, an enhanced disclosure check.
Further information on how applications should be made can be found on the MyGov.scot website.