QUEER VOICES
07/21/2013 02:48 pm ET Updated Feb 02, 2016

Alan Turing, Gay World War II Codebreaker, May Receive Posthumous Pardon Via British Bill

The legendary World War II-era codebreaker who was convicted of "gross indecency" after engaging in a same-sex relationship may finally receive a posthumous pardon from the British government.

Officials have indicated they would support a bill that would pardon Alan Turing, who commit suicide in 1954 after being subjected to "chemical castration" two years earlier after it was discovered he was gay, according to The Guardian. The bill could be delivered the lower House of Commons as early as October.

"Alan Turing himself believed that homosexual activity would be made legal by a royal commission," Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon is quoted by the publication as saying. "In fact, appropriately, it was parliament which decriminalized the activity for which he was convicted. The government are very aware of the calls to pardon Turing, given his outstanding achievements, and have great sympathy with this objective."

Echoing those sentiments was Liberal Democrat peer Lord Sharkey, who added, "I am certain that but for [Turing's] work we would have lost the war through starvation."

Often referred to as the "Father of Computer Science," Turing is best remembered for helping to crack Nazi Germany's secret codes by creating the "Turing bombe," a forerunner of modern computers, thus securing an Allied victory in World War II. In addition, he developed the "Turing Test" to measure artificial intelligence, the Associated Press points out.

He killed himself in 1954 at age 41 by eating an apple laced with cyanide, after having been forcibly treated with female hormones intended to render him asexual, according to the BBC.

Among those to support calls for Turing to receive a pardon is English theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking, according to The Atlantic. Along with other leaders, Hawking called Turing's achievements "sui generis" in a letter published in The Telegraph.

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