Men with historic convictions for consensual gay sex will be able to apply to have them disregarded, after a vital new law today received Royal Assent. The Protection of Freedoms Act includes amendments secured by Stonewall which will also enable gay and bisexual men maliciously convicted of ‘loitering with intent’ under Section 4 of the Vagrancy Act 1824 to have them removed from their criminal record. The Act received support from across Parliament, following a long lobbying campaign by Stonewall.
Stonewall Chief Executive Ben Summerskill said: ‘Victorian morality has absolutely no place in 21st-century Britain. We know of many gay men with homophobic convictions on their records who have been dissuaded from looking for work or volunteering their time to good causes. They will be delighted by this important new law, which will help many men look forward to a brighter future. We hope the new measures will now be implemented as quickly as possible.’
Stonewall gave evidence to the Public Bill Committee considering the Protection of Freedoms Bill on 24 March 2011, and lobbied the Home Secretary to increase the Act’s scope to repeal more historic offences.
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