A bill backed by Germany’s cabinet would annul the sentences of 50,000 gay men convicted after World War II and give compensation to those still alive.
If passed by the German parliament, the bill would not only overturn the convictions of all men prosecuted for private homosexual behavior between 1949 and 1969, but also it would compensate the men still alive 3,000 Euros (about $3,240) plus 1,500 Euros for each year spent in jail, according to the BBC.
The men were convicted of violating Paragraph 175, which made sexual relations between men illegal. Only about 5,000 of the men convicted are still alive and eligible for the compensation, the BBC reported.
Justice Minister Heiko Maas said the convictions were “crimes of the state,” the BBC reported. “It was only because of their love of men and their sexual identity that they were persecuted, punished, and outlawed by the German state,” Maas said.
The bill, which was approved by Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative and Social Democrat cabinet, establishes a fund of 500,000 euros per year. The fund will be held by the Magnus Hirschfeld Foundation, an organization named after a German sex researcher who was also a gay rights campaigner, The Guardian reported.
Some of the men convicted under the law were ostracized by society and others committed suicide. The law does not exonerate men who committed homosexual acts with children or those who exhibited violent or threatening behavior, The Guardian noted.
Twitter saw the bill as progress.
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