93 Year-Old Gay Man Receives Apology For Love
This heartwarming story from the UK caught our eye recently. George Montague, the so-called “oldest gay in the village”, has received an “abject apology” from the UK Home Office. The background to this story is that Mr Montague was convicted in 1974 of “gross indecency with a man”. Ever since then he has fought for a full apology from the government.
In 2016 the UK government announced that a pardon would be granted to all men convicted (posthumous pardon for those who have since passed) of consensual same-sex relationships. Amongst the thousands of men that would be pardoned was Second World War British codebreaker, and computing legend, Alan Turing. Previous to this pardon those convicted of now abolished offences could apply to have their names cleared. The pardons mean that their “offences” are now disregarded.
Pardons don’t go far enough
As far as Mr Montague was concerned he would only be satisfied with a full apology since the pardon, in his own words, “accepts that you were guilty”. He felt that a pardon indicated that there was a crime to be pardoned in the first place. Mr Montague does not believe that it should have been criminal for him to be in love with another man and so he felt that an official apology was more fitting.
To achieve his goal Mr Montague started a petition asking: “for an apology before I die”. The letter that he received from the UK Home Office reads: “understand that we offer this full apology”.
Mr Montague commented: “The wording is so wonderful and so explicit. An ‘abject apology’ from the government!”
What does an apology mean?
That Mr Montague has been successful in petitioning for an apology from the Home Office is testament to the extent of the progress that has been made by the LGBTQ community. Mr Montague has been part of that community for a long time and has served as Brighton and Hove Pride Ambassador in the UK. Securing this apology will stand as a major achievement for the LGBTQ community in the UK.
What do you think? Is this genuine progress for the LGBTQ community or is it too little too late? Should all those convicted of same-sex relations receive an apology rather than a pardon?
Leave us your thoughts as a comment.