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CA: For civil rights leader shunned for being gay, a chance at pardon and a new legacy

A day after the federal government observed Martin Luther King Jr. Day, two California representatives are asking the state to posthumously pardon one of King’s close confidantes, Bayard Rustin.

On Jan. 21, 1953, Rustin was arrested for having sex with two men in a parked car in Pasadena, Calif., where he was visiting as part of a lecture tour on anti-colonial struggles in West Africa. He was cited for vagrancy, which the representatives say in a letter was a common charge against gay men engaging in consensual sexual behavior at the time. He served 50 days in Los Angeles County Jail before returning home to New York, but was ordered to register as a sex offender.

“Mr. Rustin’s conviction and registered sex offender status haunted him for the rest of his life, and it continues to tarnish his name, despite his death thirty-three years ago. Indeed, California’s treatment of Mr. Rustin tarnishes our entire state,” Senator Scott Wiener, Chair of the California LGBTQ Caucus, and Assemblymember Shirley Weber, Chair of the California Black Caucus, said in their letter. Full Article


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Wow! This is actually a good deed as in our day and age that homosexuality isn’t illegal anymore in California. Upon that line of thought, since it’s no longer considered illegal, then shouldn’t all who were convicted of such an act which is now deemed legal should all be pardoned?

If Gov Newsome grants this one, then he has to grant others as well. Or I hope so.

I hope not. Clearly if it was a parked car, then probably within public view. Obviously the arresting officers clearly saw something going on in plain view.

Residence restrictions are but one onerous outcome from sex offender registration.

Encouraging vigilante groups is another.

How to get this ” people’s use” into a FTR trial is another.

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x