Long calls for ‘Turing’s Law’ to be extended to Northern Ireland

Alliance Acting Leader Naomi Long MLA has written to the Justice Minister calling for the pardon of those convicted when homosexuality was illegal to be extended to Northern Ireland.

The move, which follows the pardoning of Alan Turing for gross indecency in 2013, will see gay and bisexual men convicted of the now-abolished sexual offences in England and Wales given pardons.

East Belfast MLA Mrs Long said she hoped the move, which has been labelled Turing’s Law, could be replicated locally.

“I have tabled an urgent question to the Justice Minister, as well as writing to UK Government Minister Sam Gyimah and Secretary of State James Brokenshire, to ask how they will ensure the pardon of those convicted when homosexuality was illegal will be extended here,” she said.

“These men were convicted of a crime which should never have been a crime in the first place. The impact of those convictions has been far-reaching, affecting people deeply and this is an opportunity to go some way towards righting a wrong. In addition to a pardon, an apology from the Government would go a long way to healing the hurt of those men who were criminalised simply for forming adult consensual relationships. It was a bad law and there is now an opportunity to acknowledge that.

“Northern Ireland is already far behind the rest of the UK when it comes to many rights for our LGBT+ community. It is crucial Turing’s Law is also extended here so we can avoid the same happening again. We cannot afford to be left behind.”

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