The British government is going to posthumously pardon tens of thousands of bisexual and homosexual men previously convicted under a law prohibiting them from looking for or having gay sex.
Homosexuality was decriminalized in 1967 in Britain, but the so-called “Turing Bill” provides a broader pardon for men who previously would have had to clear their names by applying to a government office.
Harvard historian Nancy Koehn joined Jim and Margery to talk about the Turing Bill. She said she sees this bill as evidence of the world’s continued march toward more equality.
“Activism has no national boundaries,” said Koehn. “It really is an amazing moment.”
She went on to tell the story of Alan Turing, the man for whom the bill is named. He committed suicide after being convicted of crimes related to homosexual acts and undergoing chemical castration. Turing’s expertise was in computing.
“Some of his work is still a standard in computing,” said Koehn.
She went on to talk about his work breaking a code that helped the Allies win World War II.
“Winston Churchill said this was the most important act that happened ending the war,” Koehn said. “It is estimated that Turing’s and his colleagues’ ability to do this shortened the war by two years and saved as many as 14 million lives.”
To hear Nancy Koehn's interview in its entirety, listen to the link above.