“It is now accepted that consensual acts between two adult men should have never been a crime … The Liberal government, led by Sir Rupert Hamer, recognised this and decriminalised homosexual sex in the 1980s. We also recognise the social and psychological impacts that have been experienced by those who have historical convictions for acts which would no longer be a crime under today’s law.”

So said Victorian Premier Denis Napthine at the launch of Melbourne’s Midsumma Festival in January.

Yesterday, Victoria became the first state to erase the criminal records of men who were previously convicted of having gay sex.

Acts such as “loitering for homosexual purposes” and “buggery” should never have been legislated a crime. More than 30 years after these crimes were taken out of the Crimes and Summary Offences acts, Victoria has now gone some way to righting that wrong.

Members of the Napthine government should be congratulated for their initiative. In 2014, it’s well past time the other states followed Victoria’s lead.

Peter Fray

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