Alan Turing Receives Royal Pardon For Homosexuality Conviction

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Alan Turing Receives Royal Pardon For Homosexuality Conviction

alan turing

Alan Turing, the legendary Second World War cryptanalyst who was convicted of the crime of homosexuality in 1952, has been granted a posthumous pardon by the Queen.

There's no question that Alan Turing's work leading the successful effort to crack Germany's Enigma code during the Second World War saved countless lives, but he was also an extremely influential early pioneer in the field of computer science, and the "Turing Test" he devised in 1950 remains relevant in the field of artificial intelligence to this day. He was also homosexual, which was very sadly a crime in Britain until 1967, and that led to his arrest in 1952 after a fight with a former lover. He opted for chemical castration over a prison sentence but committed suicide two years later.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown offered a formal apology for Turing's treatment in 2009 but in 2012 the British government refused to issue a pardon, saying that it would be inappropriate to pardon someone who was "properly convicted of what at the time was a criminal offense."

Yesterday, however, Turing was granted a royal pardon by Queen Elizabeth II. "Dr Alan Turing was an exceptional man with a brilliant mind," U.K. Minister of Justice Chris Grayling said. "Turing deserves to be remembered and recognized for his fantastic contribution to the war effort and his legacy to science. A pardon from the Queen is a fitting tribute to an exceptional man."

Royal pardons are normally granted only when a person has been found innocent of the convicted offense and a request for pardon has been made by a family member, neither of which occurred in Turing's case. A Ministry of Justice representative explained, "Uniquely on this occasion a pardon has been issued without either requirement having been met, reflecting the exceptional nature of Alan Turing's achievements."

Source: The Telegraph

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Andy Chalk:
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown offered a formal apology for Turing's treatment in 2009 but in 2012 the British government refused to issue a pardon, saying that it would be inappropriate to pardon someone who was "properly convicted of what at the time was a criminal offense."

Isn't saying "eh, fuck what the law says, he's an OK guy in my book" literally the entire point of pardons? I'm pretty sure it isn't based on the notion that the queen, prime minister, or president is better at spotting a false conviction than every single judge the case has been appealed to.

Huh, that's only 61 years late. >:(

Yeah at this point,

Steve the Pocket:

Andy Chalk:
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown offered a formal apology for Turing's treatment in 2009 but in 2012 the British government refused to issue a pardon, saying that it would be inappropriate to pardon someone who was "properly convicted of what at the time was a criminal offense."

Isn't saying "eh, fuck what the law says, he's an OK guy in my book" literally the entire point of pardons? I'm pretty sure it isn't based on the notion that the queen, prime minister, or president is better at spotting a false conviction than every single judge the case has been appealed to.

Actually a pardon is an overturning of a sentence. The Prime Minister can apologize for what *he* thinks, which more or less makes it a matter of opinion.

Ignatz_Zwakh:
Huh, that's only 61 years late. >:(

Yeah, at this point I think it must have been a slow news day for this to make news. I mean it's been over 40 years since homosexuality was a crime in britain. I think this is less a sincere amends and more just someone trying to get their name in a news article by mentioning someone famous.

About fucking time.

This man deserves schools named after him, statues built in his honour.

The way he was treated was a fucking disgrace.

If there's one thing the British Empire is known for, it's timeliness. The only entity that works faster in the Vatican.

Didn't Turing kill himself with a poison apple?

Side note: I had always suspected that the Turing Test wasn't so much a concept of telling human from machine, but a man from a woman.

Okay, next for some posthumous medals or some other actual honours beyond "pardoned for being born". If you're going for platitudes, at least make them something "valuable".

Daystar Clarion:
wordswordswords

Why does using Mako as a jet powered skyboard somehow feel completely in character?

This shouldn't have happened, plain and simple.
I find it insulting, just because Turing was a large help in the war he alone gets a pardon? It's like saying "It's a good thing you were so smart, because if you weren't prosecuting you for being homosexual is still ok" I find this detestable.

Turing was special but not in this way, he was just one of the thousands who were given the choice of chemical castration or jail and not a one of them was guilty.

Daystar Clarion:
About fucking time.

This man deserves schools names after him, statues built in his honour.

Well, there's always the Turing test...

And in this internet age, his work is certain to leave, if indirectly, a lasting impression even on the younger generation in the form of the
Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart.

Uratoh:

Daystar Clarion:
wordswordswords

Why does using Mako as a jet powered skyboard somehow feel completely in character?

Because Mako is the bestest, most swagerrific character to ever grave anything, ever.

Now that this is over can we stop going on about how "Why was he arrested, it's not fair?" He was found guilty of what was a crime at the time. Nothing more, nothing less.

BigTuk:
Yeah, at this point I think it must have been a slow news day for this to make news. I mean it's been over 40 years since homosexuality was a crime in britain. I think this is less a sincere amends and more just someone trying to get their name in a news article by mentioning someone famous.

Absolutely wrong. He was one of the primary unsung heroes of World War II, and a major reason why the field of computer science is the way it is today. Without him, we might be decades behind where we are. Given the work he did for his country, his conviction was a travesty, and I'm glad to see him pardoned, even if the many others convicted under the statute likely won't get the same.

Also, the Queen is just trying to get her name in the news? Really?

Zacharious-khan:
This shouldn't have happened, plain and simple.
I find it insulting, just because Turing was a large help in the war he alone gets a pardon? It's like saying "It's a good thing you were so smart, because if you weren't prosecuting you for being homosexual is still ok" I find this detestable.

Turing was special but not in this way, he was just one of the thousands who were given the choice of chemical castration or jail and not a one of them was guilty.

The reason why Turning was arrested because he was at Cambridge in 1930s with Bruges, Philby, Maclean and Blunt. All of whom were gay or bisexual and soviet spies. Turning was know to be gay for at least a decade before his arrest and action was only taken after the Cambridge 4 were unmasked as spies.

albino boo:

The reason why Turning was arrested because he was at Cambridge in 1930s with Bruges, Philby, Maclean and Blunt. All of whom were gay or bisexual and soviet spies. Turning was know to be gay for at least a decade before his arrest and action was only taken after the Cambridge 4 were unmasked as spies.

No he wasn't, Turing was arrested after his house was broken into and during the investigation he admitted to having a sexual relationship with his male housemate.

Zacharious-khan:

albino boo:

The reason why Turning was arrested because he was at Cambridge in 1930s with Bruges, Philby, Maclean and Blunt. All of whom were gay or bisexual and soviet spies. Turning was know to be gay for at least a decade before his arrest and action was only taken after the Cambridge 4 were unmasked as spies.

No he wasn't, Turing was arrested after his house was broken into and during the investigation he admitted to having a sexual relationship with his male housemate.

So why did MI5 know he was gay in the 1940s and did nothing. Its not like the security services can stage a breaking or anything.

He doesn't deserve a pardon. He was a homosexual and his deeds don't change anything. Giving him a pardon implies that in some way the law was justified and that he was in fact, a criminal. What about all the other convicted homosexuals? Do they get a pardon or are they not important enough.

albino boo:

So why did MI5 know he was gay in the 1940s and did nothing. Its not like the security services can stage a breaking or anything.

You're entering serious conspiracy theory territory, and Turing's boyfriend knew the burglars so this really probably wasn't an MI5 sting operation.

kiri2tsubasa:
Now that this is over can we stop going on about how "Why was he arrested, it's not fair?" He was found guilty of what was a crime at the time. Nothing more, nothing less.

And it doesn't matter if the crime was a blatant violation of basic human rights? Yes, homosexuality was a crime at time, but so was running from your master if you were a slave.

OT: Good. Turing was an incredible man who achieved incredible things. Therefore, I think a royal pardon is only fitting.

Election time coming up over there or something?

Seriously who gives a fuck?

He is dead. That lover he had is probably dead by now. What was left of his family is most likely also dead or never knew the guy.

Why is something like this even a thing.

It is unfortunate that great minds are so often at the mercy and whims of lesser ones. This is a meaningless gesture; he died knowing he was betrayed by the country he arguably helped to save, there is no erasing that. I think this is more an effort on the part of those who were around at the time (I think Elizabeth was in her teens or something) to ease the shame they feel at being part of such a wretched society.

Of course, most of them had little to do with it either. The ones who did are likely dead. So, like many of our own [the US'] historical mistakes, there's no making it right. Turing is dead and unable to know that the UK eventually decided it was wrong, and those who wrote the laws and prosecuted him are dead and unable to feel regret or shame. All we can do is try to avoid repeating this mistake. Not sure whether a pardon to make the living feel better distracts from this or not.

God, if you're feeling too upbeat, just read the coments on a genuinely great thing on Christmas eve and you'll get down to earth. Seriously, this is great and important.

King Whurdler:

kiri2tsubasa:
Now that this is over can we stop going on about how "Why was he arrested, it's not fair?" He was found guilty of what was a crime at the time. Nothing more, nothing less.

And it doesn't matter if the crime was a blatant violation of basic human rights? Yes, homosexuality was a crime at time, but so was running from your master if you were a slave.

OT: Good. Turing was an incredible man who achieved incredible things. Therefore, I think a royal pardon is only fitting.

As far as I know t wasn't a violation of human rights at the time so that is an irrelevant point. The law was the law. Also I have to ask, would you be in favor of ALL who were charged with the same crime or just content with Turning. Me, I am an all or nothing type of person in this group and feel that he doesn't deserve any pardon at all unless everyone else gets one.

Zacharious-khan:

albino boo:

So why did MI5 know he was gay in the 1940s and did nothing. Its not like the security services can stage a breaking or anything.

You're entering serious conspiracy theory territory, and Turing's boyfriend knew the burglars so this really probably wasn't an MI5 sting operation.

Please explain why there was no action for a decede until shortly after the naming of the discovering of the Cambridge ring. He wasn't a member of the ring but many gay men that had sensitive security positions were caught up in security clampdown. It had previously been thought that gay men were less of risk because they would be immune to female honey traps. However in the light of the Cambridge ring and the American anger that followed, policy changed and things that were overlooked before were acted upon. Turning had been in the habit of visiting Finland and Sweden because homosexuallity was legeal there but those locations were also full of NKVD/KGB agents. There has been no suggestion that Turing was a spy but he went from a low risk category to high risk one because of the Cambridge ring.

Varya:
God, if you're feeling too upbeat, just read the coments on a genuinely great thing on Christmas eve and you'll get down to earth. Seriously, this is great and important.

Precisely. Hopefully the rest of the world understands the gesture and moves forward.

Wow, so it took like 60-some years for the Queen to pardon him?

GG government, also hiding it behind flimsy excuses such as "it was illegal at the time" is bollocks, as at those times, on the other side of the world, it was also acceptable to institutionalize witch hunts under the veil of patriotism and "doing right by your countreh".

Fuck, the amount of stuff that Turing had done for England and the World deserved a pardon in the late 80's at the latest.

albino boo:

Please explain why there was no action for a decede until shortly after the naming of the discovering of the Cambridge ring. He wasn't a member of the ring but many gay men that had sensitive security positions were caught up in security clampdown. It had previously been thought that gay men were less of risk because they would be immune to female honey traps. However in the light of the Cambridge ring and the American anger that followed, policy changed and things that were overlooked before were acted upon. Turning had been in the habit of visiting Finland and Sweden because homosexuallity was legeal there but those locations were also full of NKVD/KGB agents. There has been no suggestion that Turing was a spy but he went from a low risk category to high risk one because of the Cambridge ring.

That logic is cum hoc ergo propter hoc and therefore fallacious without less speculative evidence

Zacharious-khan:
This shouldn't have happened, plain and simple.
I find it insulting, just because Turing was a large help in the war he alone gets a pardon? It's like saying "It's a good thing you were so smart, because if you weren't prosecuting you for being homosexual is still ok" I find this detestable.

Turing was special but not in this way, he was just one of the thousands who were given the choice of chemical castration or jail and not a one of them was guilty.

...I think it has to do more that he was arrested for a really, really stupid and horrible law.

kiri2tsubasa:

King Whurdler:

kiri2tsubasa:
Now that this is over can we stop going on about how "Why was he arrested, it's not fair?" He was found guilty of what was a crime at the time. Nothing more, nothing less.

And it doesn't matter if the crime was a blatant violation of basic human rights? Yes, homosexuality was a crime at time, but so was running from your master if you were a slave.

OT: Good. Turing was an incredible man who achieved incredible things. Therefore, I think a royal pardon is only fitting.

As far as I know t wasn't a violation of human rights at the time so that is an irrelevant point. The law was the law. Also I have to ask, would you be in favor of ALL who were charged with the same crime or just content with Turning. Me, I am an all or nothing type of person in this group and feel that he doesn't deserve any pardon at all unless everyone else gets one.

Do, I think every single person convicted of homosexuality should be pardoned? Yes, absolutely I do, and I hope that happens in my lifetime.

And a violation of a basic human right is a violation of a basic human right, regardless of what the popular opinion was at the time. If someone is persecuted because of something arbitrary like creed, race, gender, sexuality, et cetera, it is unquestionably wrong in my eyes.

Well, I'm glad he's around to appreciate...oh wait.

Yeah, this doesn't seem like much of anything. It's a nice gesture, sure, but Turing doesn't benefit from this, and I seriously doubt this will change the public's perception of him.

It was but i feel like this singles him out and makes an exception when really it was wrong in every case

I retweeted this on twitter, I will say it here

It's not ok to be gay because someone's a genius.
It's just ok to be gay.
They should pardon EVERYONE or no one. And it should be obvious which is the right thing to do.

About &$*&ing time.
Hopefully the politically repressed of today won't have to wait until fourty years after their deaths to gain the same sorts of reprieves.

Okay. Chill. This is a good thing. It's not the best possible response to the situation, but it's certainly not a bad thing either. Alan Turing deserved to be pardoned on the spot, and he finally has been. It's too late to save his life but a public admission that he was both awesome and treated unjustly by his government is still worthwhile.

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