Thursday, 6 July 2017

New Zealand's Parliament unanimously pass apology for homophobic laws

Yesterday I featured how New Zealand's Parliament was preparing to pass a motion, which would apologise to gay men, convicted under homophobic laws.

Well it's happened and the bill has been passed UNANIMOUSLY, with support from across the House.

Prior to 1986, gay men engaging in gay sex were convicted for crimes, prior to gay sex between consensual men being legalised in the country.

Justice Minister, Amy Adams make the following statement:

"Today we are putting on the record that this House deeply regrets the hurt and stigma suffered by the many hundreds of New Zealand men who were turned into criminals by a law that was profoundly wrong, and for that we are sorry."

"We are acknowledging that these men should never have been burdened with criminal convictions, and we are recognising the continued effects that the convictions have had on their lives and the lives of their families."

"Today is another historic day for the New Zealand gay community and their families as Parliament formally apologises for the hurt caused by the convictions and takes the first reading of a bill to expunge those convictions. It is never too late to apologise."

"The bill seeks to address the ongoing stigma, prejudice, and other negative effects arising from a convictions for a historical homosexual offence by creating a statutory scheme for a convicted person, or a representative on their behalf if that person is deceased, to apply for the conviction to be expunged."

"This is the first expungement scheme ever to be created in New Zealand, reflecting the uniqueness of the situation."

It's estimated around 1,000 people could be eligible to apply under the scheme.

It's been almost 4 years since the New Zealand Parliament passed the Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Act 2013, which allowed same sex marriage for the first time in the country.

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