Alan Turing was a British hero. Anyone who has seen The Imitation Game will know why he deserves his place in our history books.
And this is what he should be remembered for: his work to crack the Enigma code that proved so vital to the Allies in World War II. Not because he was gay.
Turing received a conviction for gross indecency in 1952 and was chemically castrated.
Such brutality and intolerance is impossible to comprehend today. But it happened in 20th century Britain and it took until 2013 for Turing, who died in 1954, to be pardoned by the UK Government.
The persecution of gay men is a stain on our country’s history and it is heartening that moves are under way to right that wrong.
Up to 50,000 men were prosecuted and thousands will have died without ever receiving an acknowledgement that their treatment was wrong.
The UK Government last week announced gay and bisexual men convicted of now-abolished sexual offences in England and Wales are to receive posthumous pardons.
Thousands of those convicted who are still alive will also be eligible for a pardon.
I understand why many of them don’t just want a pardon, they want an apology. While a change in the law can never eradicate the pain inflicted on so many people, a public acknowledgement that our laws were wrong is a positive step.
On Friday, I listened as SNP MP John Nicolson spoke passionately in the Commons in support of his Private Member’s Bill, proposing to go further with an automatic pardon for the living.
As my Labour colleague Chris Bryant said in the debate: “Why on earth would you want to write to the Home Secretary and say, ‘Please can I be pardoned?’”
It was disappointing to see Nicolson’s Bill fall but a clear message was sent to UK ministers about the strength of feeling as they take their own measures forward.
The changes, however, will only apply in England and Wales. That’s why I have submitted a question to the SNP Government, asking if they will “quash the convictions and cautions issued to people for now-abolished gay sexual offences and issue pardons”.
I urge them to explore every legal option. The SNP will have my full support in this objective.