California pardons gay civil rights leader in new initiative

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California’s governor is posthumously pardoning gay civil rights leader Bayard Rustin. He’s also creating what gay rights groups say is apparently the nation’s first pardon process for others convicted under outdated laws punishing homosexual activity. Rustin was a confidant of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and a key organizer of the March on Washington in 1963. Gov. Gavin Newsom said Wednesday that he is pardoning Rustin for his arrest in 1953 when he was found having sex with two men in a parked car. Gay rights groups say California is apparently the first state to also create a new clemency initiative to identify those who might be eligible for pardons and swiftly consider those applications.