Hot on the heels of gay marriage, the UK Gov is set to do its best to make amends to one man that was persecuted for being gay back in the 50s. This is great! BUT they are going to wilfully ignore all the other people that were persecuted under the same law. The man they will pardon is described as especially deserving because he did famous and great things for Britain and the world, but what about all the others? Don't they deserve a proper apology too? Or do LGBT rights and acceptance only apply to some?
Tens of thousands of gay people were convicted in the UK by a homophobic law that declared homosexual activity as an indecent act. This law has since been repealed and an apology has been made by the last government (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/6170089/Gordon-Brown-issues-posthumous-apology-to-Bletchley-Park-codebreaker.html ) and now, it seems likely that one of the most well known gay men to be convicted under those laws will be given a full, posthumous pardon.
Alan Turing helped crack the Enigma Code and therefore to win World War 2. He is one of the most prominent fathers of Computer Science and his work undoubtedly shaped the lives of every one of us today. He was clearly an outstanding intellect and important historical figure. ( See him praised in parliament here - http://www.theyworkforyou.com/whall/?id=2012-06-27b.108.1&s=gay+men+pardon#g123.0 )
But that should not be why he is pardoned. He should be pardoned because the law was unjust and oppressive. He should be pardoned because no one should be hounded and abused because of their sexual orientation. No one should be treated like that - not anyone.
No gay person should have been convicted by those laws and all should be pardoned and accepted by our society.
Failing to pardon the tens of thousands of other gay people who were convicted under the same homophobic law makes the statement that the price for acceptance for gay people in the UK is to help win a world war and kick start several new fields of science. This should not be the bar for acceptance.
All LGBT people should be accepted because all people have worth. All people deserve better than those that were convicted, emprisoned, chemically castrated even, under those homophobic laws.
In a UK that has slowly come to accept LGBT rights and even same sex marriage, it is surely time that we fully apologised as best we can for all those that were wrongly persecuted in the past. That apology should be unreserved and without condition - a pardon for Alan Turing, Oscar Wilde and for all the other people that we've not heard of but that contributed to the lives of people around them and made Britain what it is today.
It is great news that Alan Turing is likely to be pardoned by the state for his homophobic conviction back in 1952. Turing's conviction and sentence are all the more shameful because his persecution led to his suicide.
Turing's case is often described as being all the more important because he was a war hero and a father of Computer Science and presumably because he could have contributed so much more and deserved to be treated so much better. However, this belittles the contributions made by all the other tens of thousands of people convicted by the same laws and the persecution meted out on them.
To single out Alan Turing for a pardon sends the message that acceptance of LGBT persons in the UK is only for those that earn it and that the price is out of reach for most. It denies the worth that is inherent in all people and the contributions that they make on a daily basis, to their family, friends, neighbours and society at large.
A pardon for all those worthwhile human beings that were wrongly oppressed and abused may be legally challenging but the government has the skills and resources to come to a workable solution.
I therefore ask you to publicly commit to finding this solution before the upcoming election, sending a message that all people are accepted in Britain regardless of sexual orientation.