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Commission marks 30 years of Homosexual Law Reform Act

Graphic: Rainbow flag

The Commission has joined calls for the Government to quash convictions for gay sex before the Homosexual Law Reform Act was introduced in 1986.

The Human Rights Commission has joined calls for the Government to quash convictions for gay sex before the Homosexual Law Reform Act was introduced in 1986.

Commissioner Richard Tankersley said it would be supportive of the Government to ensure that those convicted for activity legalised by the act have their human rights restored.

"Passing the Act required immense courage from the communities, MPs and people from the wider community who stuck their necks out for what was right," Tankersley said.

In marking the 30th anniversary of the Act, the Commission said it would welcome the Government issuing an apology to those people who were convicted for activity that would be lawful today.

"We would encourage the Government to start a restitution process, such as a ministerial inquiry, that would see all pre-Act conviction files reviewed to identify those who received a conviction for what would now be lawful under the Act," Tankersley said.

"This would enable the Government to take proactive steps to pardon or void the conviction of those people and avoid a reactive case-by-case decision-making process, which would likely be a drawn-out, costly and difficult process for these people and their families."

He called the act a major step forward but said there was still more to be done.

"There are still outstanding human rights issues for LGBTIQ communities, including identity documentation, access to healthcare and safe housing in custody for trans people, non-consensual genital normalisation for intersex children, and inclusive gender-neutral toilets and changing facilities for everyone," Tankersley said.

"We look forward to a New Zealand where everyone is able to participate equally and fully in society without being hampered by fear, prejudice or lack of understanding."

Date: 8 July 2016

Source: New Zealand Human Rights Commission


Image credits

  1. Rainbow flag - Essygie, Flickr; http://bit.ly/1PFeb68