The remains of the 16th century tower house Kirkhope Tower, situated in the scenic Scottish borders., Kirkhope Tower, Scottish Borders, Scotland.

Attempting to right past wrongs, the nation of Scotland–itself a province of the United Kingdom–has just issued hundreds of pardons under a new law that attempts to make up for years of the criminalization of gay sex.

Once upon a time, any kind of physical contact, flirting or even eye contact could lead to a criminal conviction for same-sex activity under Scottish law. Penalties ranged from public humiliation to prison time. The new statute automatically wipes clean the records of any men convicted under the laws as a sort of apology for homophobia.

Related:Sexy Kilts, castles to sleep in, and romantic coastlines: Get thee to Scotland with love

“We know of people who were prosecuted as late as the early 1990s for things like kissing their boyfriend in the street,” Equality Networ director Tim Hopkins told Reuters. A conviction like this could have meant the end of your career, it could have meant losing your friends, it could have meant losing your family, all of those huge impacts.”

Scotland legalized same-sex activity in 1980. The new law–which does not offer any kind of compensation beyond an apology–will exonerate thousands of men, living or dead, of their convictions.

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