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Pardons to be extended to women for first time over historic homosexuality convictions

The government’s disregards and pardons scheme is widening. 

By Emily Maskell

Two people holding hands with a painted rainbow on their skin.
Convictions would be wiped from record and an automatic pardon given. (Image: Pexels)

The Home Office has confirmed more people unjustly criminalised for gay sex in the past will have convictions wiped from their records.

Announced on Tuesday (13 June), the government’s disregards and pardons scheme is widening. 

The convictions will be wiped from the record and an automatic pardon will be given.

Convictions will be deleted from official records. Additionally, individuals will not be required to disclose them during court proceedings or job applications.

Since 2012, wiped convictions have focused on offences of buggery and gross indecency between men.

It has been confirmed women will now be able to apply to wipe their convictions for the first time.

Through the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act 2022, the civilian and service offences covered by the scheme have widened.

The application procedure is for individuals who have been convicted or cautioned under any repealed or abolished offences relating to same-sex activity.

Furthermore, offences include ‘solicitation by men’ which was used in the past to criminalise behaviour between gay men. 

The scheme will now also enable veterans to have convictions for their sexuality under service law erased from the record.

It shockingly remained illegal to be gay in the Army, Navy and RAF until 2000. This was despite the fact homosexuality was decriminalised in England and Wales in 1967.

“Today’s announcement is a clear demonstration of progress in righting these wrongs”

The Minister for Safeguarding, Sarah Dine, said the appalling criminalisation of homosexuality is a “shameful” part of our history.

“Although they can never be undone, the disregards and pardons scheme has gone some way to right the wrongs of the past,” she said.

“I am proud that from today the scheme has been significantly widened to include more repealed offences.”

“I invite all of those who were convicted or cautioned for same-sex sexual activity under an abolished offence to come forward and apply.”

The Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Johnny Mercer, also shared: “The treatment of LGBT Armed Forces personnel and veterans prior to 2000 was wholly unacceptable.”

“Today’s announcement is a clear demonstration of progress in righting these wrongs.”

“I will continue working to ensure the government meets its commitment to value and recognise every veteran’s service and experience.”