British 93-Year-Old Refuses Government Pardon, Says He Was Only Guilty Of Love

A story filled with pride and prejudice.

The 2014 film The Imitation Game shined a bright light on the legacy of U.K. mathematician and computer scientist Alan Turing — including his conviction under the U.K.'s historical anti-homosexuality laws.

Thousands of gay and bisexual men — including George Montague  — were convicted as a result of the Gross Indecency Law before homosexuality was decriminalized in 1967. The charges forced Montague to resign as commissioner for a camp helping boys with disabilities.

Montague, now 93 years old, has been one of the leading activists urging his government to apologize for the unlawful convictions of thousands of men, and he started a online petition for his cause.

Montague's campaign to right historic wrongs made it all the way to the U.K. parliament. On Wednesday, the government announced that all of the men convicted under those outdated anti-gay laws will be posthumously pardoned.

"This is a momentous day for all those who have been convicted under the historic laws, and for their families," Rachel Barnes, the great niece of Alan Turing, told The Independent. "It is great news for all those who have worked so hard for years to bring about this new legislation."

However, Montague says he will not accept a pardon. He wants an apology.

"To accept a pardon means you accept that you were guilty. I was not guilty of anything. I was only guilty of being in the wrong place at the wrong time," he told BBC Newsnight. "I think it was wrong to give Alan Turing — one of the heroes of my life — a pardon. What was he guilty of? He was guilty of the same as what they called me guilty of — being born only able to fall in love with another man."

Montague vows to keep fighting the good fight and says he won't rest until his government apologizes. As of Thursday, he's only 215 signatures from reaching the 5,000-signature goal on his petition.


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