The Rainbow Project has welcomed the announcement by Justice Minister Claire Sugden that the pardon of abolished gay sex offences in England and Wales will also be extended to Northern Ireland under a Legislative Consent Motion. The pardons will be included in the Policing and Crime Bill that is currently being considered in Westminster and will only apply to men convicted of consensual gay sex who were over the age of 16.

Director of the Rainbow Project, John O’Doherty, welcomed the moves by the Justice Minister saying “This is the first time that the Northern Ireland Assembly has made positive moves in respect of LGB&T legislation and we are hopeful that with cross party support the pardons will be applicable to convictions made against gay men living in Northern Ireland. It was only in 1982 that the criminalisation of gay and bisexual men in Northern Ireland was ruled unlawful by the European Court of Human Rights and we are pleased to see these homophobic and discriminatory convictions quashed, especially as they ruined the lives of so many men in Northern Ireland at the time.”

The Justice Minister has confirmed that the pardons will be applicable to posthumous and live cases.

 

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