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UK government to announce law to expunge gay sex crimes from criminal records

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  1. Tories again, you can’t trust them. Better the Alan Johnston saying it was too difficult.

    I’m with you beberts !!!!!

  2. “finally” thats the key word here…

    And when exactly is the relgious CP change ever going to be ironed out?

    Forget the marriage equality thing , somebody out there has got their foot on the brake pedal and they’re not going to lift it…!

    Beware of the CARE change when the freedom bill is raised, wll they pander to this Christian lobby group or the LGBT one?

  3. by the way I didn’t really feel part of the marriage debate discussion yesterday since I’m in a CP…make them the same and stop the confusion!

    http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld/ldtoday/04.htm#d2e563

    Moved by The Lord Bishop of Chester

    To call attention to the role of marriage and marriage support in British society 12 years after the report The Funding o f Marriage Support by Sir Graham Hart; and to move for Papers.

  4. Jock S. Trap 11 Feb 2011, 7:35am

    At least they are acting. How many said that within 3 months all our rights would go?

    Ya know, the usual scaremongering from people stuck in the past.

    The fact remains people should not be persecuted for something that is not a crime, I don’t care what the law said x amount of years ago.

    Marriage will come but lets not forget that it’s only the LibDems who have this as policy so I don’t think we’re particularly loosing anything. So on that issue we haven’t made progress but no more than Labour didn’t.

    With this governments commitment on this and doing their best to stop genuine Gay/Lesbian asylum seekers being sent back to certain countries, another thing that was failed by the last Labour government, it doesn’t suggest any Gay rights are slipping backwards.

  5. Dan Filson 11 Feb 2011, 7:59am

    Whilst not perfect, some of these comments ignore the remarkable steps forward since the Tories were last in power 1979-1997. Cameron recognised that if his party was not to be seen as the nasty party, they would have to face up to some changes being not only irreversible but also acceptable.

    So he has acted in this area, though there are some pre-2010 offences which will remain on criminal records, causing breach of the peace and so on where the offence does not make clear what exactly it was until the court papers are read.

    And I doubt those benefiting from this measure will be told of the erasing – not least as that would be a massive task with changed addresses etc – so nobody will know for certain their offences are erased. Which could leave a problem or two for someone who fails to declare an un-deleted offence.

  6. Nice thought but less emphasis on civil partnerships for same sex couples and more emphasis on marriage equality please Mr Cameron… if you really believe in equality heart and soul as you say you do.

  7. Oh Mr Cameron – please don’t be nice to the gays or the bitter-old-socialist-worker-gay-brethren won’t have a bogey man anymore – the old has-been gays love to huddle round their cauldrons reminiscing about class war, miners strikes and singing the red flag – all sooo last century – whilst sticking pins in conservative party dollies.

    The thought that the Conservative party has actually changed along with most of British society (sadly not all as the recent horrible attack in Trafalgar Sq demonstrates) and is fully commited to equality, strikes terror in their hearts as it was so much fun hating the blues.

    Now let’s pull together and forget the old 80s style party politics and recognise gay people are out and proud in all parties and we all still have some work to do, addressing the inequality of marriage and the last lingering homophobic bastions of many religious orders (though not all – three cheers for the liberal jews, the quakers and a growing number of christian voices in all churches) and of course in schools.

  8. If these convictions are to be treated as spent then they will still have to be declared when seeking employment for certain jobs.
    A baggage handler at the airport needs to declare spent convictions, as does anyone with an airside pass.
    Therefore this new legislation, if the convictions are not completely expunged, will have a limited effect on a lot of people.

  9. Before we inevitably go down the road of discussing gay marriage, lets focus on this bill. The announcement by the Government is partly good news for some men with previous convictions for offences such as buggery or for consensual acts with men between the ages of 16 and 21. However, it’s not the entirely good news it’s trumpeted to be. It appears that the Government is NOT going to wipe the records of the vast majority gay and bi men who were convicted for ‘Gross Indecency’ because they were ‘caught’ having sex anywhere outside their own home. Over the years many thousands of men were convicted – often as a result of entrapment and discriminatory policing in cruising grounds, cottages, clubs and cinemas. The Governments’ justification for not deleting these offences is that they still ‘might’ be offences under current Sexual Offences legislation, even though it’s very unlikely that men would be arrested and convicted today.

    Why is this important? If for example you were convicted of Gross Indecency after being convicted for having consensual sex on Hampstead Heath, you are still going to have to disclose the ‘offence’ if you undergo a standard or enhanced CRB check. It will remain on your record forever and the police will be obliged to disclose it until your hundredth birthday! Despite already paying the penalty for these ‘crimes’ many years ago, many men will continue to be discriminated against when applying for jobs or voluntary roles. This is unlikely to change as a result of the change in the law.

  10. Good grief, it’s a step forward and people still aren’t happy! Yes, things could have been worded better, yes, there could have been more emphasis on marriage equality but at the end of the day they’re TRYING. Somebody who has never have their basic human rights taken away can’t understand what it’s like but they will do their best. Cut the guy some slack…he could have just ignored the whole issue and hoped it’d go away. People on here know better than anyone that change takes time. It’s not just about changing laws, it’s about changing attitudes. If you push everything into the face of the general public then people will dig their heels in and cause more problems. Take baby-steps, let people adjust to this. Yeah, it sucks that LGBT don’t get the same treatment as everyone else BUT on the other hand at least people are showing they care

    (Sorry if that makes little sense, pre-coffee!)

  11. This is great news and a good change to help the gay community. It’s very encouraging to see this being done under the tories. Yes, it is still hard to trust them, but if they are trying to show us that they have changed then they are doing a good job of it with this. This is really important and will make a difference to the lives of many gay men. Perhaps it does give some hope for marriage equality.

  12. This is a cover up story for Lord George Carey being on the BBC last night?
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00ym4y4/This_Week_10_02_2011/

  13. Cameron says..”I told the Tory conference that commitment through marriage was equally valid whether between a man and a woman, a man and a man or a woman and a woman – and it’s why a Conservative government will put new rules in place to tackle homophobia and support gay couples.”

    Excuse me Cameron, but since when did we have same-sex marriage in the UK? Stop equating civil partnerships with marriage, they’re not the same and not identical. Anyone who thinks they are is in denial. Civil Partnershps are all well and fine for those who want them and who want to be viewed differently, but many of us don’t. I’m all for keeping them for both gays and straights, but I’m sorry, civil marriage should and must be available to gay people who want it, all things being equal. CPs will never be recognised universally nor will they be the gold standard for anywhere for gays or straights. Its delusional to even conceive of it now that ten countries have progressed and evolved a lot further than we have on this issue. That trend will continue whether some like it or not. Nobody is saying abandon CPs and for those who like them, fine….but please….support those of us who want the option to marry.

  14. Thomas,
    Those “has-been” gays you despise so obviously, were protesting for change when it meant being imprisoned or beaten up by the police. They risked their safety, livelihoods and future happiness for the sake of freedoms the youngsters today enjoy.

    The same youngsters who think it funny to throw fire extinguishers off the top of a building, or to rip the flag from the cenotaph.

    Shame on you.

  15. Twitless

    “The same youngsters who think it funny to throw fire extinguishers off the top of a building, or to rip the flag from the cenotaph.”

    Erm, aren’t you branding all young people based on the behaviour of just TWO individuals? Massive generalisation and stereotyping. What would you have said if someone cited the actions of two gay men as being reflective of all gay men? You’d have a fit!

    Hypocrisy is ugly. Don’t do it.

  16. @Peter: If you look at Clause 82 of the Protection of Freedoms Bill, it does include the offence of gross indecency (as well as buggery and their predecessor offences in earlier legislation), as long as:

    “(a) the other person involved in the conduct constituting the offence consented to it and was aged 16 or over, and
    (b) any such conduct now would not be an offence under section 71 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 (sexual activity in a public lavatory).”

    http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201011/cmbills/146/11146.63-67.html#j100ef

  17. Thanks for the link Paul.
    What I find confusing is that the bill refers to the ‘secretary of state’ as the person you need to write to in order to try and expunge a conviction. Pray tell, which secretery of state are they referring to? The Justice Secretary or the Home Secretary? Maybe it’s the secretary of state for health for all I know, I just couldn’t see it stated in the bill.

  18. yyyyyyyyyyy 11 Feb 2011, 2:21pm

    best thing to do is sit back and wait

  19. @Paul, thanks for the information. You are absolutely right to clarify that point – it sounds as if the changes will now benifit men charged with gross indecency in cruising grounds. The initial indication was that changes may not have applied to public places because you could still be charged with offences such as indecent exposure. Nevertheless, my point stands around the issue for men with convictions for cottaging. Yes, sex in a public toilet is still illegal today, though it’s much rarer for men caught cottaging today to be dragged through the courts. However, in the past far more men were charged and convicted, often as a result of ‘proactive’ operations and police entrappment. These men paid the penalty once but I would argue that it’s not in anyone’s interest to continue to require them to disclose the offence of ‘gross indecency’ often decades after it happened. I think it’s a missed opportunity the wipe the slate clean as far as Gross Indecency goes.

  20. Peter

    “Yes, sex in a public toilet is still illegal today, though it’s much rarer for men caught cottaging today to be dragged through the courts.”

    I don’t see why they shouldn’t be arrested. It’s a hideous, seedy and selfish practice that sends out the message that this is somehow ‘part of our culture’. It is completely wrong for anyone to be having sex in public toilets, gay, straight or anything in between. They are not bedrooms, they are for people to take a crap in! Aside from that, it drags everyone else into the sexual activities of the cottagers. You know, the glory holes, the messages left on doors, people spying on those in the next stall – no way should it be legal to turn a blind eye. Those are private spaces for people to do their business in, not pick up points for opportunists. Not appropriate at all. A friend of mine was taking a crap at a service station and caught someone spying through a hole in the partition. He chased him and reported him, yet the guy said he wasn’t doing anything illegal. He got a warning from the police, quite right too, but imagine what legal precedent it could set if it were legal? Women’s groups would go mad as it would open up the opportunity for men to go into their toilets and pick up women. After all, if gay men can do it, why can’t straight men? Very dangerous

    Go online or go to a bar, don’t make other people suffer because of your outdated, indecent and quite frankly seedy antics. Keep your sex lives at home like everyone else has to. Let the rest of us s**t in peace!

  21. mmmmmmmmmmmmmm

    “Erm, aren’t you branding all young people based on the behaviour of just TWO individuals? Massive generalisation and stereotyping. What would you have said if someone cited the actions of two gay men as being reflective of all gay men? You’d have a fit!

    Hypocrisy is ugly. Don’t do it.”

    Wow, you got all that from what I said. What an imagination. You sure you don’t write for a tabloid. They would call that accurate.

  22. Twitless

    You said:

    “The same youngsters who think it funny to throw fire extinguishers off the top of a building, or to rip the flag from the cenotaph”

    I stand by what I said, that is a total generalisation of young people today. If you can’t get your message across properly, that’s your incompetence, nobody else’s. No matter how you look at your statement, it still says the same thing.

    With crap like that, you’d make the better tabloid hack.

  23. THE British government is planning to change the law and allow same-sex couples to have civil partnership ceremonies in places of worship.

    The Sunday Telegraph newspaper said such ceremonies could be permitted to include religious elements for the first time.

    The Sunday Times newspaper said the proposed marriage law reforms could also end the legal definition of marriage pertaining only to a man and a woman, in a highly symbolic move.

    Read more: http://www.news.com.au/breaking-news/britain-to-allow-gay-marriage-in-church/story-e6frfku0-1226005295035#ixzz1DpTU6smL

  24. Patrick O'Gormley 14 Feb 2011, 8:55pm

    ….if it’s ok to redact hansard and documents about the dishonesty of MPs then why cant any document of historical value be redacted as in any document relating to Oscar Wilde this is a smoke screen of dubious value…..

  25. Convictions will not be automatically deleted from the records. An application will have to be made to have this done.

    This means some men won’t bother; other won’t know about the process because it will not be advertised.

    And as far as I understand the offence record would become “disregarded” for the purposes of disclosure under ROA 1974.

    It does not mean that the DNA and fingerprint records will be deleted. The plan was only to remove PNC data. Of course, the PNC only came into existence in 1974.

    Pre-1974, records were held in paper format, thus there are thousands of gay men with gross indecency convictions between 1885 and 1974 who are not on the PNC and their “paper” records will not be shredded.

    Classifying a conviction as “disregarded” does not mean the all the records (court, PNC, Fingerprint Ident1, and DNA) will be deleted/destroyed, so they could continue to exist for policing purposes.

    One may not have to disclose the offence when applying for a job / volunteering because it would be a “disregarded”, but should one be stopped by the police for even a routine matter and a police record check was done by that constable, the constable would know the man in front of him was previously convicted of a gay sexual offence (gross indecency, for example).

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