Yahoo News reports:
The German government Wednesday approved plans to quash the convictions of 50,000 men sentenced for homosexuality under a Nazi-era law which remained in force after the war, and offer compensation.
The measure marks a triumph for activists after a decades-long struggle to clear the names of gay men who lived with a criminal record under Article 175 of the penal code. An estimated 5,000 of those found guilty are still alive.
The legislation was passed by Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cabinet and will soon head to parliament, where her ruling right-left coalition enjoys a large majority. “Article 175 destroyed careers and ruined lives,” Justice Minister Heiko Maas said in a statement. “The few victims who are still alive today deserve to finally have justice.”
The measure follows Britain’s so-called “Turing Law” approved in October, which offered pardons to thousands of men convicted of homosexuality before its decriminalisation in 1967. The legislation was named after World War II hero Alan Turing who was prosecuted under the law in 1952 and forced to undergo chemical castration treatment. He committed suicide two years later at the age of 41.
However the British measure, unlike Germany’s, only automatically pardoned dead people while the living must still make an individual application to have their names cleared. It also failed to provide compensation.
Germany’s law against sex between men dates back to 1871 but was never enforced until the Nazis gained power and added a sentence of ten years at hard labor. As in many other nations, Germany never explicitly outlawed sex between women.