Legendary LGBT right activist George Montague is petitioning the government to go one step further than pardoning deceased victims of historic anti-homosexuality laws by apologising to those who are still with us today.
On October 19 the government announced that all deceased men who were convicted of consensual homosexual acts between adults would receive automatic pardons
. While some welcomed the news, many felt that, not only does a pardon suggest that the men were at fault when they were not, but by not including those who are still alive, the pardon offered no help to those who are still living with the effects of being unfairly punished.
At the time, George Montague explained to BBC Newsnight that he would not accept a pardon, saying that accepting one would mean accepting "that you were guilty."
"I was not guilty of anything. I was only guilty of being in the wrong place at the wrong time,” the 93-year-old Attitude Pride Award winner said.
He continued: “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.
“If I get an apology, I will not need a pardon.”
Now, Montague has set up an online petition
to pressure the government to apologise to those who fell victim to the homophobic laws - specifically those who are still alive. At the time of this article's publishing it has already received 6,000 out of 7,500 signatures. The petition calls for an "apology from this government on the part of their predecessors," arguing that "some of those past legislators are still alive, often asleep in the House of Lords on £300 per day, many of them refusing to accept the fact that being homosexual is NOT a choice."
You can find the petition, which will be delivered to the Prime Minister tomorrow (November 2), here
. And check out our interview with George here
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