English Government Seeks Passage of “Alan Turing Law” To Posthumously Pardon Thousands of Homosexuals Prosecuted For Their Sexual Orientation

alan_turing_aged_16The English government has taken steps to address a long-standing injustice common to both Great Britain and the United States: the conviction of thousands of citizens for being homosexuals. The new law of posthumous pardons is appropriately named the “Alan Turing law” after the genius who helped break the German code in World War II only to be hounded in peacetime by his country for his sexual orientation.


Turing was convicted homosexuality in 1952 and committed suicide in 1954.

240px-Oscar_Wilde_portraitHomosexuality was decriminalized in England and Wales in 1967. Scotland followed in 1980 and Northern Ireland did so in 1982. Notably, lesbian sex was never specifically outlawed, but sometimes prosecutors would use vice laws against lesbians. Tens of thousands of men may have been convicted under the laws according to John Sharkey, a member of the House of Lords who championed the pardon for Turing. That would include Oscar Wilde, the Irish playwright who was convicted and sentenced to two years of hard labor in 1895 for sodomy.

In fairness to our English cousins, that was long before the United States Supreme Court declared such criminal laws to be unconstitutional in Lawrence v. Texas in 2003.

The law would be long overdue and, while it hardly makes amends to these people with shattered lives, it represents an important public apology for the prosecution of people due to their sexual orientation. Turing has already been given a posthumous royal pardon in 2013. His moving story was the basis for the outstanding film, The Imitation Game, starring Benedict Cumberbatch.

61 thoughts on “English Government Seeks Passage of “Alan Turing Law” To Posthumously Pardon Thousands of Homosexuals Prosecuted For Their Sexual Orientation

  1. Oscar Wilde got caught in a libel suit and then a private criminal action (something we do not have here). He lost and spent his time in Read Goal. However, the police did not go after him, the father of his lover did.

  2. Yeah, don’t let them try to keep telling you how forward thinking the Brits are. I had read in the past when Kirk had to kiss Uhura (I know you all know these characters… admit it to yourselves [Gorn captain, Arena, 1966]…), it took eight years before they would show that episode on TV there. They have (had) Top Gear and Dr. Who, so I’m good with them (outside their government), mostly…

  3. And there in a nutshell, we have the arrogance of government.

    Turing was arguably one of the most valuable people on the British side during WW2 – after having benefited from his service, the government made his life a living hell.

    Now that same government wants to “make things right” with a posthumous act.

    Always be suspicious of government certainty – they make many mistakes.

  4. Personally, I don’t believe this guff about him committing suicide from being bullied about. It was his own guilt. Read Midge Decter’s article “Boys on the Beach”. As soon as homosexuality became legitimized, homosexual S&M came to the forefront. In other words, we didn’t do them any favors. As soon as we stopped punishing them, they started punishing themselves.

    • Hugh Beaumont – if Britain legalizes pot, are they going to go back and wipe all those personal uses off the books or all the cases of the books? What weight will be the tell? A few oz., a few kilos?

      • PS,

        In an enlightened, more just society, ALL arrests and convictions for controlled substances would be “bleach wiped”. How people like you still believe some of the things you do is evidence that just because you can write a complete sentence, that doesn’t mean your mean-spirited, backward thinking contempt for those who (thankfully) hold more enlightened views than yours is any more rational and logical today than it was 20-30-40 years ago.

        • bill mcwilliams – I am not sure what you are referring to, but, as a former teacher, who has seen the effects of pot in the classroom, I would keep all the convictions on the books. I have taught both faggots and potheads. They got the grades they deserved (I graded on a strict point system).

          • I’m referring to you, Paul, and yes – I DO support your right to hold (and spread) your Neanderthal opinions. Maybe one day, you will change. Until then, at least the only damage you can inflict will be on other low-information people who are easily fooled.

              • The list is too long to type here.
                It isn’t at all surprising that you don’t know – or won’t admit.

                The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts. – Bertrand Russell

                Most people would sooner die than think; in fact, they do so.

                • Bill, the cognitive operations you perform have a great deal to do with cack-handed deductive reasoning from witless priors. They have little to do with the kind of reasoning which assists you in understanding much of anything.

        • Bill, people have contempt for you because you continually confuse your perfervid fantasies with the actual events ocuring in the world in which we live.

  5. The law would be long overdue and, while it hardly makes amends to these people with shattered lives, i

    What are you talking about? Consensual sodomy was a class B misdemeanor under the Penal Law of New York. Patronizing a prostitute is also a class B misdemeanor. No one’s life is ‘shattered’ by a criminal penalty which cannot exceed 90 days in jail and which under most circumstances will net you no time at all. What may cost you your job and a mess of friends would be social disapproval of sodomy. This inane exercise is the present corps of professional-managerial types (including you) standing in judgment of the older generation. Anyone familiar with the character and accomplishments of this age in comparison with that age will see that for the effrontery it is.

  6. I’ll second that law.

    It’s not the government’s beeswax what consenting adults do intimately in their bedrooms.

    Yes, it is anachronistic to apply today’s social mores to yesterday’s, but a posthumous pardon clears the record. Why should a war hero such as Mr Turing have a criminal conviction next to his name? Of course, his story is useful in explaining to contemporary minds how very different things were in the past. This is about signaling that the government was wrong. And, yes, it’s just a gesture, but a very nice legacy for Alan Turing.

    Steve Fleischer – very well said. And yet another argument against government creep. The entire food pyramid, we now know, is not that healthy, and was in fact based on an error in a nutritional study in which the researcher failed to realize he was documenting the diet of a people…during Lent.

      • He was collared when he admitted under questioning that the unemployed youth half his age was in fact his partner in sodomy. A chap at Princeton in 1952 who seduced a local diner waitress would be retrospectively condemned, because Not Special.

    • Why should a war hero such as Mr Turing

      He was a valued employee of the cryptology and cryptography service. He had no military service whatsoever, much less combat service, much less heroic combat service.

      have a criminal conviction next to his name?

      Because he committed a crime. That latter day fools have turned male homosexuals into a mascot group does not erase the history.

      It’s not the government’s beeswax what consenting adults do intimately in their bedrooms.

      Who defines ‘consenting’ or ‘adult’?

  7. Karen S said:

    “It’s not the government’s beeswax what consenting adults do intimately in their bedrooms.”

    Likewise, it should be none of the government’s beeswax what an adult eats, smokes, snorts, or shoot in ANY room of their own residence.

    Criminalizing victimless acts only benefits special interests. Do not expect any of those folks to have a come to Jesus moment. To them, it isn’t greed, it’s about_______(type your preferred rationale on the line).

    Come on all of you hypocritical, holier-than-thou supporters of the corrupted status quo.

    • Trudeau was a sociopath roue who eventually bedded down a hopelessly frivolous woman 29 years his junior and called her his ‘wife’ for a while. People applying ordinary common sense could see him for what he was. That was his strategy for promoting the notion among the socially anxious and other directed that it was oh so unsophisticated to call a bad character a bad character and act accordingly to run him out of public life.

        • Yes, and some of ’em are here day in and day out – then they return to their confines in a cave.

          “Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog it’s too dark to read.” Groucho

        • dykewriter – there is no proof the socio/pychopaths are right of center. Actually, they would be just the opposite. Since socio/pychopaths do not obey rules they are more likely to be left of center or not even have a center.

            • I’m not your victim. I’m pointing out you’re making asinine statements and likely lack the talent for making non-asinine ones. We’re all having to put up with you, but we’re blessed to not have to do that in meatworld

          • You can’t even hear how silly you sound claiming white men are being silenced and unrepresented and how evil you sound. I gets it sucks to be the status quo being overcome, difficult to feel pity for oppressors.

            • dykewriter – took some feminism classes, didn’t you. Now you are an oppressed victim of the man. Your professors lied to you. The fourth wave does not exist because there is no one to lead it, it is a mish-mash. Your professors are trying to keep a job with a degree that is becoming worthless. Taxpayers are tired of paying their share of your worthless courses. Eventually, the taxpayers are going to revolt and close the courses down.

                  • This topic is about Homosexual Pardons and the social problem of Conservatives oppressing people. I think you are one of the bullies and whatever you suffer under “white man’s burden” delusions.

                    • dykewriter – you are truly drinking the kool-ade. It is not my problem if you are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transexual, or straight. It is not my “white man’s burden” to worry about it. I don’t think it is anyone’s burden. If you want to carry some guilt, go for it.

                      Do you realize how long that type of talk will keep you employed by a private employer? About a week, then you are history.

                  • I am a 48 year old adult women with non-combat PTSD, because of the Canadian Government’s war on queers, which is what this post is about. so, no. Nothing you strawmanned was correct.

                    • dykewriter – let’s be honest here. All the terms you are using are part of the Third Wave and Fourth Wave of Feminism, plus some good old racism. So, you either took classes, you read the texts or you got a bad education from your sisters as you sat and drank with them. Which was it?

                      BTW, the PTSD cannot be too bad if you call yourself dykewriter.

                    • You don’t have PTSD induced by the Canadian government and the ‘war on queers’ is entirely in your imagination.

                    • That you think you get to determine other people’s experience is very conservative. My Disability Pension proves otherwise. Thanks for playing, your score is zero.

                    • dykewriter – disability checks do not have your disability on them. You clearly have a disability. I personally doubt that it was caused by the govt of Canada. Now, you could be right, but statistics are on my side.

                    • That you think you get to determine other people’s experience is very conservative. My Disability Pension proves otherwise. Thanks for playing,

                      No, you’re disability pension proves that Canadian authorities are happy to be rolled. In this country, they now cut checks to drug addicts.

                    • Alan Turing is the topic and you want to deny reality.

                      Yes, but you’re the one who brought up your bogus disability.

      • further, He tried to do the pardon and decriminalization in the 1980s in Canada and the UK just failed to address an historic wrong… I guess the new PM Justin Trudeau will be leaderboarding on the human rights…

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