New Zealand lawmakers apologize for 100s of convictions under anti-gay laws

Alain Brian
Juillet 6, 2017

"While we can not ever erase the injustice, this apology is a symbolic but important act that we hope will help address the harm and right this historic wrong".

The motion was moved during the first reading of a bill to expunge the criminal convictions of men convicted of offences that are no longer recognised as such. "It will allow men convicted of specific homosexual offences decriminalised by the Homosexual Law Reform Act 1986 to apply to the Secretary for Justice to have their convictions wiped".

In 2013, New Zealand became the first country in the Asia-Pacific region to legalise same-sex marriage. Most were prosecuted after 1965 and before 1986, when New Zealand decriminalised homosexuality.

Adams wants Parliament to "apologise to those homosexual New Zealanders who were convicted for consensual adult activity, and recognise the tremendous hurt and suffering those men and their families have gone through, and the continued effects the convictions have had on them".

Adams announced the criminal records bill in February and it was brought before Parliament last month.

"Hundreds, possibly thousands of lives, have been lost because men could not bear the shame, the stigma and the hurt caused by this parliament and the way that society viewed them as criminals", he said.

Mr Robertson also added a personal message to all the men who fought for their rights in the face of hate and discrimination.

Both Ms Adams and Mr Robertson received standing ovations after their speeches from the public galleries.

Robertson, who is openly gay, said he stood on the shoulders of those who had been convicted. He said the law change would allow the man to feel some dignity in his final years.

"The fact that I as a gay man can be out and proud and a member of Parliament is but a small tribute to you".

Wiremu Demchick, the organiser of the Campaign to Pardon Gays in Aotearoa, said today was a day to remember the past.

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