Commenting on the Scottish Government’s announcement on pardons for historic LGBT convictions, Pam Currie, chair of the Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) LGBT Workers’ Committee said:
“The STUC LGBT Workers Committee is thrilled to see the Scottish Government taking action on this issue. While these are historic convictions, they still have a real and meaningful impact on people’s lives today.
“LGBT people with historic convictions, predominately gay and bisexual men, are prevented from taking work, both paid and voluntary, in areas where disclosure checks are required. It is simply wrong that laws which were historic, illegitimate and homophobic are still impacting workers to this day, limiting their life chances and the role they can play in society.
“The STUC LGBT Workers’ Committee looks forward to supporting the Government with their plans, and while we have some concerns around the language of pardons, we welcome the acknowledgement that these laws were never legitimate and the commitment to create an automatic system to remove the conviction from people’s records.”
Contact Helen Martin
Notes for editors
The STUC LGBT Workers’ Committee carries out a range of work to tackle homophobia and to promote equality for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender people in Scotland, both in the workplace and in society.
Motion passed by the STUC LGBT Conference in May 2016
Expunge LGBT Convictions Prior to Decriminalisation
“That this Conference notes that until 1980, sex between men was illegal in Scotland and whilst sexual acts between women have never been specifically outlawed in the UK, some prosecutions for indecency were made in the past. Conference further notes that the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 1980 decriminalised homosexual acts between men over 21 in private in Scotland and the age of consent for gay men in Scotland was reduced to 18 in 1994, and to 16 in 2001.
“Conference is concerned that some LGBT people in Scotland still suffer the injustice of having a criminal conviction based on homophobic and outdated laws. These convictions, whilst historic, can still have a material effect on people’s lives and prevent them from engaging in work, including voluntary work, where a background check is required.
“Conference believes that it is unacceptable that LGBT people are tarred as sex offenders and are prevented from contributing to society or working in certain professions, due to historic convictions based on flawed laws.
“Conference further notes that from 1 October 2012, people in England and Wales with convictions and cautions for consensual gay sex can apply to the Home Office to have these offences removed from their criminal records, but that no such provisions exist in Scotland.
“Conference calls on the STUC LGBT Workers’ Committee to:
• work with the Scottish Government to create a system similar to that which exists in England and Wales, to remove historic convictions from criminal records;
• raise awareness of this issue amongst employers and the general public; and
• campaign to expunge the records of all those convicted under homophobic laws.”