Isle of Man Chief Minister apologises for anti-gay laws – BBC News

The Isle of Man’s Chief Minister Howard Quayle has issued an “unqualified apology” to gay men convicted of same-sex offences under previous Manx laws.

He made the comments as a bill, which will see men convicted of consensual homosexual offences pardoned, had its final reading in the House of Keys.

Mr Quayle said he could not erase “past injustice” but hoped new legislation would “start to heal some of the pain”.

Gay rights campaigner Alan Shea said it was a “great day for the Isle of Man”.

“The families that have lost children have just received an apology. Maybe now we can all heal, but parents will never forget their children,” he said.

Homosexual acts were decriminalised on the Isle of Man in 1992, 25 years later than in England and Wales, and 12 years after Scotland.

Under the new sexual offences bill, men sentenced under the previous laws will receive an automatic pardon and will be able to apply to have convictions cleared from their record.

England and Wales passed a similar law in 2017, known as the Alan Turing law, while Scotland did it in 2019.

Mr Quayle said the historical laws were “misguided and wrong” and “reflected an island of the past”.

The Sexual Offences and Obscene Publications Bill 2019 will go to the upper house of Tynwald after it received unanimous support in the House of Keys on Tuesday.

It will replace all current sexual offence legislation and, if approved, will also make up-skirting and revenge porn offences, and provide anonymity to those accused of sexual offences until a conviction has been made.

Source: bbc.co.uk

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