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LIbLInk: John Sharkey: Why I fought to get a pardon for gay and bi men

Much of the coverage of the new law pardoning thousands of gay men for historic convictions became law last week. The Lib Dem peer who fought for this for years, John Sharkey, has written for Pink News about why this was such an important issue for him.

He started with an account of how homosexual acts became a crime in the first place – almost casually.

On 6 August 1885, late at night in the Commons debate on the Criminal Law Amendment Act, Henry Labouchère suddenly produced an amendment to the Bill before the House. This amendment criminalised homosexual acts. The only discussion was over the penalty to be imposed. Labouchère had proposed a maximum of one year. Sir Henry James suggested two years and Labouchère agreed. The whole debate had four speakers, including Labouchère. It lasted four minutes and consisted of a total of 440 words, but 75,000 men were convicted under this amendment, and Alan Turing was one of those.

At university, he had been taught by Turing’s closest friends and got to know his story: 

Posted in LibLink | Also tagged and | 1 Comment
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  • User AvatarPeter Hirst 22nd Oct - 1:20pm
    The Conservatives have too much political capital invested in leaving at the end of the month to behave rationally. It is up to MPs to...
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    The party should be thinking about now and the future. We have to comment on the fact that we are a broad church and therefore...
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    After Industry (thank you, Peter Martin), poorly skilled people will have no productive platform anymore to earn a dignified living. Without complementary physical capital, the...
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    Interestingly I recall meetings where Mark Oaten, our then Shadow Home Secretary and later his successor in that role, one Nick Clegg, proposed that those...
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    Reading that very helpful link you included, George, what Phillip Lee was talking about does not seem like what is normally referred to as “forced...
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    Also, it is frankly ludicrous to suggest that, just because the BMA haven't withdrawn a doctor's license to practice over a political stance, the political...