For John, BLUF: When we realize a law was wrong, then what? Nothing to see here; just move along.
At the blog Above the Law, Ms Tamara Tabo makes her point about "The Mistake Behind The Posthumous Pardon Of Alan Turing".
The core of her case is:
Turing’s case does not present an actual innocence claim. Turing was not wrongfully convicted of a rightful law. He was rightfully convicted of a wrongful law. His actions violated the then (unfortunately)-applicable law. Turing freely admitted as much. The problem then was not that, despite his conviction, Turing’s conduct did not actually meet the elements of the statute. The problem was with the existence of the statute itself.She is correct.
If, on the other hand, the UK pardoned Turing because the Crown believes that his extraordinary service as a code-cracker in World War II paid the debt he owed to society for his crime, then the pardon is also a mistake. To do so assumes that there is an actual debt owed. If being such a useful, patriotic, brilliant gay man redeems you in the eyes of the Crown, that legitimizes the supposed need for redemption.
Does any gay person want to be redeemed in the eyes of their government only because of other good deeds? Isn’t an underlying premise in arguments for gay rights that gay men and lesbians don’t need to apologize or compensate for their sexual orientations in order to be held in high regard in civilized society? Or at least not be chemically castrated by that society?
Hat tip to Ann Althouse.
Regards — Cliff