Luke Pollard

Labour & Co-operative MP for Plymouth Sutton and Devonport

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Why I'm backing Turing's Law

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Ed Miliband has today pledged that a future Labour Government will offer posthumous pardons for gay men convicted under historic indecency laws.

The new legislation will allow the family and friends of deceased men to apply to the Home Office to quash convictions under the historic ‘gross indecency’ law for consensual same-sex relationships. 

This law will be known as Turing’s Law in memory of Alan Turing – the Enigma code-breaker – who was convicted of ‘gross indecency’ in 1952 and has subsequently received a posthumous Royal pardon. Alan Turing made an enormous contribution to this country but I believe he should be pardoned because criminalising homosexuality is wrong not just because of his wartime contribution.

Ed Miliband said: 

“What was right for Alan Turing’s family should be right for other families as well.

“The next Labour government will extend the right individuals already have to overturn convictions that society now see as grossly unfair to the relatives of those convicted who have passed away.”

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Labour's record on gay rights

Between 1997 and 2010 the Labour government did more for the advancement of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans equality than any other government in British History.

In government Labour:

  • achieved an equal age of consent
  • ended the ban on LGBT people serving in our armed forces;
  • ended discrimination against Lesbian & Gay partners for immigration purposes;
  • given LGBT individuals and couples the right to adopt children;
  • scrapped the homophobic Section 28 (Clause 2a in Scotland);
  • become a signatory of the Treaty of Amsterdam, which gave the EU powers to end discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation;
  • banned discrimination in the workplace and in vocational training with the introduction of the Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations;
  • created the Equality and Human Rights  Commission (EHRC) which gives LGBT people statutory body protection;
  • included homophobia in the definition of hate crimes
  • increased sentencing for homophobic hate crimes;
  • removed outdated offences such as gross indecency and buggery;
  • produced and implemented the Gender Recognition Act, allowing Trans people to have their true gender recognised in law;
  • created the Civil Partnerships, allowing LGB people to have their loving relationships recognised by law and have the same benefits as married couples;
  • outlawed discrimination in good and services (with no exceptions);
  • launched a campaign in the UN for the Decriminalisation of Homosexuality focusing on the nine countries where it is still punishable by death;
  • awarded statutory rights for fertility treatment for Lesbians on the NHS
  • introduced the Equality Act

Since 2010 Labour MPs voted for Marriage Equality. Because more Tory MPs voted against Marriage Equality than for it if it were not for the support of Labour MPs LGBT people in Plymouth would not have the same rights to marry as straight people. 

Pardoning people convicted of 'gross-indecency' shows Labour is serious about removing the final few legal impediments. What we need to do now is also redouble our efforts to ensure that no one in Plymouth suffers bullying, discrimination or attacks because of their sexuality.

LGBT Labour

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At the LGBT Labour stand at Plymouth Pride with LGBT Labour's famous (and perhaps more aspirational than factual) 'Never Kissed a Tory' T-shirts

I'm proud to be a member of LGBT Labour and I'm an active member of LGBT Labour SW. The fight for equality must continue especially with the rise of parties who do not share Labour's belief in equality and social justice. 

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