The Criminal Records (Expungement of Convictions for Historical Homosexual Offences) Bill passed its third reading on Tuesday.
It is good to see the stigma of a criminal record being removed for something that should have never been illegal – having sex with another consensual adult.
Many good contributions to the debate from MPs on all sides. Worth reading the Hansard linked above.
But one contribution from Louisa Wall I will take a small issue with:
I’m incredibly proud to come from a country and a Parliament that, after 151 years of colonisation—lest we forget; these laws came from our coloniser. This is part of our colonial history, and it’s incredibly interesting, when you go to these IPU forums and you have the African countries and you have the Asian countries and they all talk about this being abnormal behaviour, but the reality is the condemnation of this behaviour came from England, and I believe that England, as a colonising power, still has a lot of work to do to help us move from a world that is filled with hate to a world that’s filled with love.
There is an element of truth to this, that the English moral code was influential in colonised countries.
But it is simplistic to say that attitudes in Africa and Asia are all due to English colonisation. I think you’ll find countries with Spanish and French colonisation have similiar attitudes.
And more to the point, the major correlation with criminalising homosexual behaviour is whether or not Islam is the major religion of the country. The 10 countries that execute people for consensual homosexual activity are all Islamic.
Also prejudice against homosexuality goes back to Roman times, so blaming it all on England is rather over the top.