Expunge LGBT convictions prior to decriminalization

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2016 National LGBT Conference
25 July 2016
Carried as Amended

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 United Kingdom (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 lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in Scotland still suffer the injustice of having a criminal conviction based on homophobic and outdated laws.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 national LGBT committee to:

1. Engage with the Scottish Government and other appropriate bodies to support the creation of a similar system to that which exists in England and Wales, to remove historic convictions from criminal records;

2. Raise awareness of the issue through available means of communications;


3. Campaign to expunge the records of all those convicted under homophobic laws.