The First Minister has unreservedly apologised to gay and bisexual men who were convicted of crimes around homosexual relations, many of whom have carried a criminal record with them their whole lives as a result. New legislation will also be introduced which will automatically pardon those convicted under the laws.
Private homosexual relations between men aged over 21 were not decriminalised in Scotland until 1980, despite the law being changed in England and Wales 13 years earlier.
Tim Hopkins, Director of the Equality Network, said hundreds of men would see convictions disappear.
“This very welcome bill will be of direct importance to hundreds of people with past criminal convictions for the kinds of relationships that were perfectly legal for their heterosexual friends,” he said.
“More widely, it is a clear statement that Scotland considers the discrimination of the past to be wrong and unacceptable, and now understands LGBTI people to be equal citizens who deserve equal respect.”
Image credit: CJF20, Flickr