Alan Turing, once known as Great Britain’s most brilliant code breaker who saved millions of people in World War II, was stripped of his security clearance in 1952 when British police found out that he was a gay man. Police said such “gross indecency” was against the law at the time, and Turing faced a stint in jail. But because Turing was doing such important work, he was offered the alternative of getting estrogen injections to “eliminate his perversions.” Within two years, Alan Turing committed suicide by eating a cyanide-laced apple.
The new Turing legislation is a bit of good news after the shake-up in the U.K. over Brexit, says the Inquisitr. But while the new Turing Law is a good sign, crimes involving homophobia in the U.K. are said to be up by 147 percent.
'Alan Turing law' brings posthumous pardons for thousands of convicted gay men https://t.co/p4sHLveyzb— nzherald (@nzherald) October 21, 2016
The Washington Post says that homosexuality wasn’t decriminalized in England and Wales until 1967, and a decade later in Scotland and Northern Ireland. The British government announced this week that all men who were convicted under these arcane laws will now be pardoned, many, like Alan Turing, are being pardoned posthumously.
The Alan Turing Law will be added as an amendment to the 1967 law that decriminalized homosexuality. Those who were convicted and are still alive should come forward to have their records expunged.
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Though Alan Turing was given a Royal pardon in 2013, Turing’s great niece, Rachel Barnes believes that this is a big move for the U.K., and for validation of Turing’s work.
“This is a momentous day for all those who have been convicted under the historic laws, and for their families. The gross indecency law ruined peoples’ lives. As Alan Turing received a pardon, it is absolutely right that those who were similarly convicted should receive a pardon as well. It is great news for all those who have worked so hard for years to bring about this new legislation.”
This is obviously better than nothing, but still a tragic case of "too little, too late." https://t.co/RHr5WicZQh— Scary Kate (@SarahKate26) October 20, 2016
Peer Lord Sharkey, who proposed the amendment, says that this law is “momentous,” says the BBC. Lord Sharkey understands that some of the men may not want a pardon, or feel that accepting a pardon is wrong.
“A pardon is probably the best way of acknowledging the real harm done by the unjust and cruel homophobic laws, which thankfully we’ve now repealed. And I do hope that a lot of people will feel exactly the same way.”
Of the 65,000 men who were convicted under these laws, 15,000 are still alive, and one of them, George Montague, who was convicted in 1974, wants an apology, not a pardon, and feels that publicly pardoning Alan Turing is wrong, and a that a man who did so much for England and the world deserves a formal apology.
“To accept a pardon means you accept that you were guilty. I was not guilty of anything. I was only guilty of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
Montague says in today’s world, Turing also did nothing wrong.
“I think it was wrong to give Alan Turing – one of the heroes of my life – a pardon. What was he guilty of? He was guilty of the same as what they called me guilty of – being born only able to fall in love with another man.”
Montague says that if he gets an apology, he will not require a pardon.
Do you think the new Alan Turing Law is long overdue? Do you think Turing’s family deserves a formal apology?
[Featured Image by Kin Cheung/AP Images]