Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has apologised to the LGBT community for criminally convicting gays from Victoria in the past.

Gay people who were criminally convicted for “loitering for homosexual purposes” have been approached through an apology by Andrews. A sorry from the state government meant a lot for those who had to go through the suffering during their imprisonment for their sexuality, which was in no way an offence. Although the decriminalisation of homosexuality took place in the 1980s, the formal apology from Andrews changed the complete atmosphere that was under “darkness and shame.”

The premier said that it was the parliament and the state government to be blamed for the injustice done to the LGBT community. “We criminalised homosexual thoughts and deeds. We validated homophobic words and acts,” Andrews said as quoted by the Herald Sun. “And we set the tone for a society that ruthlessly punished the different — with a short sentence in prison, and a life sentence of shame. For the laws, we passed, and the lives we ruined, and the standards we set — we are so sorry. Humbly, deeply sorry.”

Eighty-four-year-old Aboriginal choreographer Noel Tovey was convicted in 1951 for he was a homosexual. He could not control his emotions after hearing about Andrews’ attempt to apologise to the community for the injustices done to them. “What it might really mean is that we are one step closer to accepting same-sex marriage, we’re closer to accepting homosexuality as something that is not as perverted as people think it is,” the ABC quoted the dancer as saying.

In his apology, PM Daniel Andrews recalled the choreographer who said that while in jail, he always thought if he would be alive “to see this day.” “It’s very good for every gay man because finally the government of Victoria is seeing us as real human beings,” Tovey said.