The history of homosexual law reform in NZ

Gay rights
Gay rights

The 30th anniversary of New Zealand's Homosexual Law Reform Bill is being celebrated around the country this week.

So just how far has the country come since then then? Let's take a walk down memory lane.

Marriage equality was still missing and in 2013, there were mass protests and marches in front of Parliament calling for a same-sex marriage law.

On occasions, Parliament's front lawn was divided in half.

One side filled with anti-gay marriage proponents holding prayer vigils and sing-alongs; on the other side supporters held signs and waved colourful flags - all while politicians debated inside.

In August 2013 came the last major milestone: the same-sex marriage law passed in Parliament, 27 years after homosexuality was decriminalised.

It sparked joyous celebrations both inside and outside Parliament.

Inside, National's Pakuranga MP Maurice Williamson gained worldwide attention for his speech declaring there was "an enormous, big gay rainbow across my electorate".

But some campaigners say there is still more to be done.

There are still some people facing charges dating back to pre-reform days, and there are calls for those to be wiped.

"I think it would be a generous thing for the Crown to do," says former Wellington-based Labour MP Fran Wilde. "It was a victimless crime and frankly I think it would be a good thing to do some time."

A petition was delivered to Parliament this week calling for an apology and for the charges to be wiped.

But Justice Minister Amy Adams says this would be legally complicated, leaving those charged to fight on a case-by-case basis.


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