New Zealand to remove historic gay convictions

Amy Adams Sound of Music

New Zealand will follow the United Kingdom and several Australian states by removing historical convictions for gay offences.

Apologising to people who had been convicted, New Zealand’s Justice minister Amy Adams said┬ápeople convicted of indecency, sodomy or providing a place for homosexual acts would have their criminal records wiped.

The government has ruled out any compensation being provided to people who were charged under the former laws.

“Although we can never fully undo the impact on the lives of those affected, this new scheme will provide a pathway for their convictions to be expunged,” Adams said. “It means people will be treated as if they had never been convicted, and removes the ongoing stigma and prejudice that can arise from convictions for homosexual offences.”

It is estimated that 1,000 men will have their convictions removed. The laws did not affect women, as sex between women has never been illegal in New Zealand.

Homosexuality was decriminalised in New Zealand in 1986, and marriage equality was achieved in 2103. By comparison Western Australia didn’t decriminalize homosexuality until 1989 and the age of consent for gay men was kept at 21 until 2002.

Western Australian Labor leader Mark McGowan has vowed to introduce similar legislation in Western Australia if elected on March 11. Labor have also committed to making an apology.

Premier Colin Barnett has also voiced his support for historical convictions being removed and has asked Attorney General Michael Mischin to develop a proposal to be presented to cabinet for consideration. Premier Barnett has not commented on whether an apology would be appropriate.

OIP Staff

 

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