Canada PM Justin Trudeau to pardon man jailed for being gay

Joe Williams February 29, 2016
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George Klippert was given a life sentence simply for being gay.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau intends to posthumously pardon a man who was jailed simply for being gay in the 1960s.

George Klippert was the last man in Canada to be convicted of homosexuality before it was legalised in 1969.

Canada PM Justin Trudeau to pardon man jailed for being gay

The mechanic served a four-year sentence for 18 counts of ‘gross indecency’ in Calgary in 1965.

He was deemed a ‘dangerous sex offender’ and was sentenced to preventive detention on the grounds he would likely reoffend – essentially sent to prison just for being gay.

However, Trudeau – a keen LGBT rights supporter – has announced plans to officially pardon Klippert.

“Klippert’s case was instrumental in the government’s decision to decriminalise homosexual acts between consenting adults,” Trudeau’s said in statement on Sunday (February 28).

“As Canadians, we know that protecting and promoting fundamental human rights must be an imperative for governments and individuals alike.

“This includes gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation… but the fight to end discrimination is not over and a lot of hard work remains,” he added.

The leader went on to say that Canada “is made stronger because of our diversity, not in spite of it.”

The leader also promised that the Liberal government would review hundreds of other convictions of ‘gross indecency’ and ‘buggery.’

Trudeau’s plan to pardon Klippert is especially fitting, as it was his father, Pierre, who tabled a bill to decriminalise private, consensual gay sex between men over 21 in 1969 – which eventually led to Klippert’s release in 1971.

The pledge is similar to those made by UK PM David Cameron. Back in 2010, Mr Cameron told PinkNews readers, that the government would change the law so that any past convictions for consensual homosexual sexual activities, which have since become lawful, will be “treated as spent, and will not be disclosed on a criminal record check when applying for a job.”

Last year, he promised to go one step further, calling for new legislation to pardon men convicted under the laws who are deceased, as well as those who are alive.

The Queen granted a rare posthumous pardon in 2013 to Alan Turing, under the Royal Prerogative of Mercy.

Last week, Trudeau confirmed plans to attend this year’s Pride parade in Toronto – making him the first Canadian prime minister to do so.

However, this will not be his first time at the event.

Canada PM Justin Trudeau to pardon man jailed for being gay

Trudeau has attended Pride parades in Toronto and Vancouver for years – but never as leader of the country.

Canada’s new PM has shown himself as a strong supporter of equal rights since being sworn into office.

In November, the government promised to take in a substantial amount of gay refugees from war-torn Syria.

The proud LGBT ally also demonstrated his commitment to equality by naming a diverse, gender-balanced cabinet.

Related topics: Americas, Canada, Canada, Homophobia, illegal, Justin Trudeau, LGBT, Same-sex

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