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Stephen Hawking calls for David Cameron to pardon gay code breaker Alan Turing

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  1. Good for them. The sooner he receives a pardon, the better.

    1. Did he do something wrong?

  2. This is a very important initiative. I’d like to see a bit more news coverage though, as the mass media can have a big influence on events.

  3. Jock S. Trap 14 Dec 2012, 11:55am

    I glad to see this and it is about time too. I would like to see Alan Turing on a bank note too, he needs to be celebrated.

    On another note why isn’t it Sir Stephen Hawking?

    1. with british titles academic and military titles come before honorific titles with the exception of doctor and some religious titles, so his full title would be professor sir steven hawking

  4. He should be pardoned. But, if they pardon him, wouldn’t they have to pardon EVERY gay person who was ever found guilty … some of whom may still be alive? And, potentially, wouldn’t that mean claims for compensation? You can see their reluctance …..

    1. No, anyone can be pardoned for anything. It isn’t overturning the conviction, that would still stand as he did break the law.

      The pardon is an option under certain special circumstances. His contribution to the security of this country just being one.

  5. Aussie Gay Activist Paul Mitchell 14 Dec 2012, 11:58am

    The UK Parliament need to pass the Alan Turing Pardon Bill 2012 as well as the Equal Civil Marriage, Civil Partnerships Amendment And Religious Protection (England And Wales) Bill 2013!

    Both same-sex marriage and Alan Turing’s pardon are all long overdue in the UK!

  6. That’s quite a list. Hopefully it will be difficult to resist those lofty persons. Quite right he should be pardoned and everyone still living with a criminal record as a result of those disputable laws. Families who have loved ones who died with the ‘crime’ still on their records should be able to apply for posthumous pardons.

  7. Robert in S. Kensington 14 Dec 2012, 12:36pm

    Absolutely agree with this. If Turing had been straight, perhaps it would never have been an issue. If he has any surviving relatives immediate or distant, could they not request a pardon? Did his parents have siblings, cousins, second cousins, cousins removed, whatever?

    1. If he had been straight it wouldn’t have been illegal therefore he wouldn’t need a pardon.

      People seem to be confused between a pardon and overturning an unsafe conviction.

  8. Whitewash. I’ve said it before, but I fail to see what good this could do – Turing’s been dead for 60 years. It also runs the risk of letting people feel smugly generous where it concerns this one (admittedly brilliant) individual while completely ignoring all the other less important people who were also affected by the draconian laws of the time.

    1. The good would be, as I said elsewhere, a moral victory, and a test case for the ‘less important’ people.

      1. I still think it comes perilously close to trying to rewrite history (although that’s really rather overstating things). I think it’s preferable to concentrate on the living than the dead.

        1. Patrick Lyster-Todd 14 Dec 2012, 3:10pm

          If we can’t correct the past then we have no future.

          1. That sounds very good, but I don’t think it stands up to scrutiny. We can ‘correct’ the past by actions going forward, actions that affect people in the present and the future: we cannot correct the past by rewriting it.

          2. You cannot correct the past, you can only correct the present while recognising the wrong in the past.

            We need to keep our history accurately unjust, so those in the future can see what went before.

            In any case if it is injustice you want to put right you would probably have to go back as far as our records go and pardon about 80% of convicted criminals. People who stole bread because they were starving for example.

            Pardoning Turing would be a highly symbolic act though and put right a particular injustice that meant he was convicted of a crime and no one knew at the time what he had done for all of us as all his war work was still top secret.

    2. It would send out a clear signal (to places like Uganda) – as does gay marriage – that it is backward to continue to discriminate against gay people and that we were very wrong to persecute anyone because of their sexuality.

  9. I always thought Grade was a bit of a berk, but good for him. It would only be a moral victory now, since Turing is dead, but it would be a victory.

    Even better, legislation to clear the convictions of all the dead who cannot apply for themselves.

  10. I would rather a system that says as he was convicted under unjust law, he should be exonerated of any crime.

    1. I agree. A pardon implies that he was guilty of a crime but the state is forgiving him because of his other good works.

      He should be exonerated – as should everyone else convicted in similar circumstances.

      1. Absolutely.

  11. Alan Turing, one of the people that Pastor Fischer would have had aborted apparently.

    What a disgrace these people are. They would turn the developed world into Uganda if they could.

  12. And not before bloody time.Should have been done years ago plus a statue in London. Only us of his geneneration know the debt we owe to him

  13. Considering what this man did for Britain in wartime, his pardon should not just be a quiet affair with the prime minister simply signing his name, or making a 10 second announcement in the Commons.

    Alan Turing’s pardon should be a public event.

  14. Alan Turing should not be pardonned for being born gay. The state should seek forgiveness for the maltreatment of a man who did nothing wrong and who was persucuted to death.

    1. Ha! I like that a lot.

      However, putting my sensible hat on for a second, it’s doubtful whether he was persecuted to death. The biographies admit it’s not clear whether he even deliberately took his own life.

  15. You don’t “pardon” a man who did nothing wrong.
    If anything, the nation should ask forgiveness for the wrongs that were committed against him, set the historical record to read as such and do the things that are necessary for a nation to honor a hero.

  16. Michael Packard 15 Dec 2012, 1:34pm

    It is a persons human duty to speak and act against a law that stands as blemish on humanity (i.e. Slavery, Homosexuality, Forced Begging etc.). Some of these so-called laws are gone, repealed to history; but others still exist. Alan Turning will and should be pardoned. He is a man that despite feeling his nation’s hate for who he was, chose not to leave that nation in their time of need, but stayed. He stayed to contribute in the area of computer science; and with his skills, slash the war by years, saving untold amounts of lives. The British Government owes Turning a huge debt.

  17. He can’t be pardoned because he was charged with an offence, something he didn’t deny. And pardoning him now would only let off those narrow-minded moralizers who created the absurd law in the first place. It is they who should be seeking pardoning, not Alan Turing. And let’s not forget, even if the Church of England wants everyone to forget, it was them who were behind this law in the first place. Perhaps placards of the man should be held up in front of the Church of England and asked, so you think inequality is still right. What’s changed? Nothing as far as the church is concerned.And they still have bishops sitting in on the Royal Society. Bishops who haven’t a clue about anything scientific, but who demand to make decisions affecting scientists. And with Isaac Newton held up as its greatest scientist – Newton, a gay guy.

  18. I think the establishment who treated Turing and others so badly are the ones who should be begging for a pardon. Turing was actually a hero who saved this country whilst many of the right-wing reactionary fascist sympathising establishment of the time are on record as wanting to surrender and do a deal with Hitler.

  19. A pardon would imply that he did something wrong. What we need to see is not a pardon but an apology.

  20. To suggest this man needs to be pardoned. Is to suggest he broke the law or did something wrong. In who`s eyes, the establishment the bigots of the time, the government the church. They should all be on their knees asking for his forgiveness. and the people of Britain should start a national day of mourning for this man. To be celebrated like Nov 11. To once and for all remind everyone of what bigotry looks like and what it does to a society. Britons are not worthy to lick the boots of this man.

  21. Chris Rust 22 Jul 2013, 4:45pm

    For anybody who thinks that a pardon for Alan Turing would perpetuate an injustice and be the wrong way to honour this great man, I have started a petition here

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