Australian state to issue apology for historic anti-gay laws

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The Australian state of Victoria will become the second to issue an apology for historic gay sex convictions, it has been announced.

It was confirmed last month that Tasmania’s Parliament would formally issue an apology for historic convictions related to consensual gay sex, under laws only lifted in 1997.

This week, the Premier of the state of Victoria confirmed that he too would issue an official apology for its own anti-gay laws, which were lifted in 1981.

Premier Daniel Andrews confirmed the plans in an announcement following a Pride event in Melbourne.

According to Sky, he told reporters it was about “sending the strongest message that we are sorry.”

He said: “That that was a dark chapter in our state’s history and that we are better than that.

“It was shameful that our laws prohibited and turned those activities into crimes.

“Many men have had to live with the difficulties of those criminal records for a very long period of time.”

The official apology will be issued on May 24.

Mr Andrews is also a supporter of same-sex marriage, amid stalling from the federal government.

He added: “Discrimination is wrong in any form, it’s not negotiable, and it’s not for any politician to tell people who they can marry, how they can express their love.”

Four states – Tasmania, South Australia, Victoria, New South Wales and the ACT – allow criminal records to be expunged of historic gay sex convictions, or have plans to do so.

It is currently not possible to have historic gay sex crimes expunged in Queensland, Western Australia, or the Northern Territory.

The ACT was the first state to decriminalise homosexuality back in 1973.

Tasmania was the last state to decriminalise gay sex, doing so in 1997. Prior to that, gay sex could be punished with up to 21 years in jail.