California Governor Posthumously Pardons Civil Rights Leader Bayard Rustin For 1953 Gay Sex Conviction

NBC News reports:

California’s governor announced Wednesday that he is posthumously pardoning a gay civil rights leader while creating a new pardon process for others convicted under outdated laws punishing homosexual activity. Bayard Rustin was a confidant of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and a key organizer of the March on Washington in 1963. He also helped plan other nonviolent protests and boycotts to end racial discrimination.

Gov. Gavin Newsom pardoned Rustin for his arrest in 1953 when he was found having sex with two men in a parked car in Pasadena. He was in town as part of a lecture tour on anti-colonial struggles in West Africa. He served 50 days in Los Angeles County jail and had to register as a sex offender before returning to his home state of New York. He died in 1987. The California Legislature’s LGBTQ and black caucuses last month asked the Democratic governor to pardon Rustin.

In 2013 President Obama posthumously awarded Bayard Rustin the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the same honor Trump granted last night to raging racist Rush Limbaugh. Rustin’s medal was accepted by his surviving partner, Walter Naegle, who narrates the last clip below.