Bill to expunge gay-sex criminal records takes effect in Canada today
Critics of bill say it doesn't go far enough because it omits convictions from bathhouse raids
Legislation that will make it easy to tear up the criminal records of Canadians convicted of homosexual acts is now law.
Bill C-66 allows Canadians, or family members of Canadians who have died, to apply to erase past criminal convictions for three offences — buggery, gross indecency and anal intercourse.
The bill is a companion piece to the historic apology Prime Minister Justin Trudeau issued in the House of Commons last fall to members of the gay, lesbian, bisexual or two-spirited community who faced discrimination in the federal public service or military.
Critics of the bill say it doesn't go far enough, omitting convictions from bathhouse raids which they say targeted gay men even if the laws themselves were not specific to sexual identity.
Under the bill people can apply, free of charge and without hassle, to the Parole Board of Canada to have the records of their convictions destroyed.
Last week a federal judge approved a legal settlement to compensate individuals who were harassed, denied promotions and sometimes fired from their jobs in the military and other agencies because of their sexual orientation.