Scotland Issues Pardons for Gay Men Convicted Under Abolished Laws

Gay and bisexual men in Scotland that have been convicted under discriminatory laws which have now been abolished are to receive an automatic pardon from Tuesday.

Same-sex activity between men was illegal in Scotland until laws banning homosexual relations were revoked in 1980, but the convictions of those convicted of offences before then were retained on official records.

Any man with such a conviction can now apply to have it “disregarded” so it will never show up on, for example, an enhanced disclosure check; which is what they are calling The Disregard Scheme.

The Scottish government said it had been working closely with Police Scotland and other partners to ensure the “disregard” scheme was clear and effective and had appropriate safeguards in place. The scheme will not apply to behavior that is still illegal today – for example rape or having sex with someone under the age of 16.

Before the law changed, men could be prosecuted for offences including consensual sexual activity in private, kissing another man in a public place, or just chatting up another man in a public place – which was known as “importuning”

Any man wishing to apply for a “disregard” can apply on line.