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Queensland, Australia: Criminal Convictions for Homosexual Offences to be Wiped Off Criminal Records

(Blogmensgo, gay blog October 20, 2017) During the night of October 10 to 11, 2017, the Queensland parliament voted for a bill in third reading, which will allow gay men to have convictions based on homosexual acts expunged in their criminal records. The Australian state follows the example of four similar recent decisions: The Turing Law in England and Wales (in force since January 31, 2017), the rehabilitation of gays convicted in Germany between 1945 and 1994, the deletion of convictions due to homosexuality in New Zealand (in effect retroactively and beginning in 2018) and some other similar laws already passed in other Australian states.

The vote of the Queensland parliament was held the night before October 11, i.e. the International Coming-out Day. All 464 men who had been convicted for (consensual) homosexual acts before January 19, 1991 may now request such convictions to be expunged from their criminal records.

Brisbane at night

Brisbane at night: Queensland with rainbow colors? ©lassedesignen/123rf.com

Homosexuality was considered a criminal offense in Australia until 1991. The historical homosexual convictions expungement act passed on October 10, 2017 was the result of a bill proposed in May 2017 by Yvette D’Ath, the justice minister of Queensland.

The minister believes that the new law comes as a reparation element even though the men involved will never completely forget the shame, stigmatization, professional discrimination etc. that they had experienced and suffered from.

In addition, she stresses the symbolic value of such a law, in particular for homosexual youths.

We still know there are young teenagers in school who are struggling with their sexuality. This is all for them.

The ministry of justice will now evaluate each request to expunge such criminal offenses from a person’s register. Surviving family members may issue such requests in the name of their deceased loved ones.

Four other Australian states have similar laws in place already: South Australia, Victoria, New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory (Canberra). A fifth state, Tasmania, is preparing such a law right now.

Annastacia Palaszczuk, Australia’s prime minister, has officially apologized to the men in question in the name of the state of Queensland.

The Prime Minister believes that clearing criminal records of such convictions is a step into the right direction but she stresses that only legalizing gay marriage will bring equal rights for gay and lesbian couples.

The parliamentarian vote of Queensland will come into effect even before the results of the Yes-Now Referendum in Australia will be known. All polls, however, forecast a very clear majority for the supporters of same-sex marriage.

Frank-S / MensGo
Main source: ABC News, October 11, 2017

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