• Alan Turing (1912-1954). (Getty Images)Source: Getty Images
Lord Sharkey, the politician behind the legislation, described it as "a momentous day".
By
Ben Winsor

21 Oct 2016 - 4:27 PM  UPDATED 24 Oct 2016 - 9:11 AM

Thousands of men convicted for having sex with other men under now-abolished morality laws will now be eligible for an official pardon thanks to the ‘Alan Turing Law’ in the United Kingdom.

Alan Turing, the gay World War II code-breaker known as one of the fathers of modern computer science, was charged with having a sexual relationship with another man in 1952.

Turing elected to be chemically castrated rather than be jailed, and ended up committing suicide in 1954.

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In 2009, then-Prime Minister Gordon Brown apologised for Turing's "appalling" treatment by the government. The code-breaker was officially pardoned for the crime of gross indecency in 2013.

Under the new legislation, deceased men convicted of repealed sexuality offences will receive automatic pardons.

According to those behind the law, roughly 65,000 men were convicted of offences, 15,000 of whom are still alive today.

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Those living with criminal records will still have to apply for a pardon; a process that was previously available, but will now be streamlined.

The government has said that blanket pardons for the living would be unworkable, as some of the offences under the same legislation may have involved children or other additional elements of illegality.

Lord Sharkey, the politician behind the legislation, said it was "a momentous day for thousands of families up and down the UK who have been campaigning on this issue for decades."

"A pardon is probably the best way of acknowledging the real harm done by the unjust and cruel homophobic laws, which thankfully we've now repealed," he told the BBC, "and I do hope that a lot of people will feel exactly the same way".

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