The British government has announced that it will expunge the criminal records of men who were convicted for consensual adult gay sex in the past.
Until 1967, consensual gay sex was illegal in Britain and men convicted under this law continued to have a criminal record for the offence.
These records could in the past only be removed via a complex legal process.
Now, Home Secretary Theresa May confirmed that the new coalition government will erase these records entirely.
“It’s not fair that a man can be branded a criminal because 30 years ago he had consensual sex with another man,” May told the Telegraph.
“As a Government we have made clear our determination to take concerted action to tear down barriers to equal opportunities and to build a fairer society.”
The news comes shortly after May and Prime Minister David Cameron hosted a reception at 10 Downing Street on Wednesday to celebrate Pride month.
The government also promised to reduce homophobic bullying in schools and to change the law to allow religious buildings to host same-sex civil partnership ceremonies.
“…if religious organisations, if churches, if mosques, if temples want to have civil partnerships celebrated at religious places of worship, that should be able to happen and we should make that happen,” said Cameron at the reception.
He added: “Of course those organisations that don’t want that to happen have their rights too, but we shouldn’t let some legalistic nonsense get in the way of people who want to celebrate civil partnerships in churches, and when there are churches that want that to happen, we should allow that to happen.”