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Government apologises for historic injustice

Wednesday, 29 January 2020

The Chief Minister Howard Quayle has highlighted the Isle of Man as a progressive and tolerant nation which embraces all people regardless of race, religion or sexual orientation. 

In the House of Keys today the Chief Minister offered an unqualified apology on behalf of the Isle of Man Government to men convicted of homosexual activity under Manx law until it was repealed in 1994. He accepted that previous laws discriminated against innocent men for ’who they were and who they loved’ – and said that it was time to put right an historic wrong.


The Chief Minister spoke during the third reading of the Sexual Offences and Obscene Publications Bill 2019, which allows for those convicted of homosexual activity that would today be legal, to be automatically pardoned. It also means individuals can apply to have any convictions which are no longer considered offences removed from their criminal record. The Chief Minister said that they should be seen as innocent.  

Howard Quayle said the men suffered an injustice under laws which reflected ‘an island of the past’ and he extended the apology to their partners, family and friends. 

In the statement the Chief Minister highlighted the many ways the Island has changed in recent decades, and welcomed that the House has become far more representative of the people it serves. The Isle of Man now celebrates same sex marriage and civil partnerships, while institutions such as the police force and judiciary champion inclusion. 

Calling on the whole community to challenge prejudice and ignorance, he said the Island will work tirelessly to banish discrimination and ensure equality for all.

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