Victorian Government Set To Apologise For Historic Gay Laws

31/01/2016 8:55 PM AEDT | Updated 15/07/2016 12:51 PM AEST

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews will issue an historic state apology in May for laws that once criminalised homosexuality.

At a marriage equality march on Sunday, Mr Andrews said the apology would take place in parliament on May 24, acknowledging the 'shameful' legislation which prosecuted homosexuals for having consensual sex.

Before 1980, the offence carried penalties of up to 15 years’ jail.

Attending the Midsumma Pride March in Melbourne, Mr Andrews told reporters he wanted to send "the strongest message that we are sorry”.

“(It) was a dark chapter in our state's history and we are better than that,” he said.

"It was shameful that our laws prohibited and turned those (homosexual) activities into crime."

In September last year, the Victorian government changed the Sentencing Act 1991 to recognise "homosexual sex between consenting adults should never have been a crime”.

The moved expunged criminal convictions for men found guilty of consensual sex and fraternisation.

"Many men have had to live with the difficulties of those criminal records for a very long period of time,” Mr Andrews said.

Mr Andrews also called on the Federal Government to legalise same-sex marriage.

"I think Australians are getting pretty sick and tired of this notion that we'll have a plebiscite and Australians will basically decide the matter, and I've seen some politicians in the Federal Government saying that, whilst at the same time other members of the Government are saying that won't matter," he said.

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