QUEENSLAND today introduced a bill to parliament that will expunge historical gay sex convictions if passed.

In a speech, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk also issued an apology to the hundreds of people who were convicted under the laws, which were repealed in 1990.

“In criminalising homosexual sexual activity between consenting adults, the legislative assembly of this state dishonoured its citizens and institutionalised prejudice and discrimination,” said Palaszczuk, apologising not only to those charged but to all who were marginalised by the laws.

“To all those affected we say sorry.”

LGBTI rights groups applauded the government for the move, saying it recognises the harm caused by discriminatory laws.

“These laws have left a legacy of shame and stigma on our community for too long,” said Emile McPhee, executive director of the LGBTI Legal Service.

“It’s well and truly time for this legacy to be completely erased from the criminal histories of persecuted gays, lesbians and trans people.

“We welcome this historic moment which brings us one step closer to equality.”

Anna Brown, director of legal advocacy at the Human Rights Law Centre, has successfully pushed for similar legislation and government apologies in other states. She welcomed the progress for Queensland.

“Sex between consenting adults should never have been criminalised,” Brown said.

“This apology from the Queensland Government is a powerful symbolic act that helps to repair the harm caused by these unjust laws and affirm the value of gay, lesbian and bisexual people’s sexuality.”

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