Turing's law: UK to retroactively pardon thousands of men prosecuted for having sex with men

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2016/10/20/turings-law-uk-to-retroacti.html

Pardons are a form of forgiveness for wrongdoing. Montague says he didn’t do anything wrong, and he wants an apology, not a pardon.

And he’s absolutely right. How we face the future matters.

I get that this is all the Tories would let pass, and that a nation equivocating is not the same as a person. But we must push now and we must push hard against the bigots rallying against justice in the West.




Oh they pardoned people for doing nothing wrong?

How about they “annul” it and say they never did anything wrong in the first place? A pardon implies forgiveness. There’s nothing to be forgiven here.

How about the UK government apologize for being wrong, and just say that whoever bangs whoever else consensually isn’t and didn’t do anything wrong?

How about the UK admit their stupid homophobic law was wrong?

“Awful decent of you gov, not keepin me in prison for lovin’ someone!”

The UK’s bureaucracy is pathetic in this case. Utterly pathetic and contemptible.

Having read the article I see I’m not alone.


Disgusting. I can’t, cannot think of a single secular reason to reject this beyond either yellow-bellied cowardice, or the fact that the UK has an official church.

For one of the most secular countries in the world, the UK kowtows and treats religions with such preferential treatment it disgusts me.

Everyone should be allowed to practice their own religion, but religion is no basis for making laws. Laws have to be good for everyone. Religion, by definition has to employ preferential treatment.


Very much Devil’s Advocating here, but:

One of the more defensible stated reasons is the claim that sodomy charges were occasionally employed in a Capone Tax Evasion manner; i.e. “We know this bloke is a right proper villain, but we can’t prove it. He’s a gay villain though, so we’ll just do him on a sodomy charge”.

Still an extremely weak and flawed argument, but it appears to be the best they have.

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But did they pardon the men those men had sex with?


Montague has it right, and so well put!

And I think I speak for all crusaders of grammatical righteousness when i say it was either a “photo of Turing at age 16” or a “photo of Turing aged 16”, but not a “photo of Turing at aged 16” :smile:


The word “retroactively” seems to be hauling no weight here. All pardons are retroactive.

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George Montague claims:

It didn’t apply to heterosexuals. Heterosexuals could do what they liked, in the doorways, in passageways, the back of their car.

This is not really true, though. Sex in public is and was generally illegal, and heterosexual couples are prosecuted for this from time to time. ‘Buggery’ of a woman remained illegal regardless of consent until 1994 (though I doubt it was often prosecuted when consensual).


I fairly recently read the andrew hodges bio about him (alan turing: the enigma) and it brings home what we’ve truly lost, the guy was so so far ahead of his time it’s unreal. He was thinking about a.i. in a way i think we’re only now just beginning to grasp, the crypto stuff was important but just a building block to a true thinking machine. We all know this i suppose but i’d urge anyone to read it. I like to think there’s another universe where the uk government weren’t such myopic, bigoted fuckwits and recognised his potential to do something extraordinary. Would computing now be decades ahead than it is? Who knows, eh.


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