Sunday, July 09, 2006

Twenty years of freedom

Today is the twentieth anniversary of Homosexual Law Reform. I'm actually too young to remember the event - I was more concerned with playing D&D than politics at that stage - but looking back, it was a landmark, and (along with the BORA and the Human Rights Act) one of the great triumphs of modern New Zealand liberalism - and one well worth celebrating. Homosexual Law Reform meant that gays no longer had to live in fear of being arrested for who they were - but it also marked the defeat of bigotry and intolerance in New Zealand. Oh, the bigots are still there - Pope Tamaki and his blackshirts are proof of that - but they are now very much on the fringes, rather than at the heart of power. This also is worth celebrating.

GayNZ has a series of features to mark the anniversary, including a look at what it was like before decriminalisation, a two-parter on the "Coalition of Concerned Citizens" and their obsession with shit and communists, and a piece on Fran Wilde, the MP who fronted the bill. The Sunday Star-Times also has a piece on how things have changed. Together, they paint a picture of an entirely alien New Zealand, where people were arrested and fired and ostacised for their sexuality. I am very glad I live in this New Zealand, rather than in that alien past.

We've come a long way since 1986, and gays now enjoy near-equality in the eyes of the law. But there is still work to be done. Civil Unions are not enough, and at some stage the Marriage Act must be reformed to allow full equality. More immediately, there is the question of gay adoption. This was left out of the recent reforms, with the result that gay couples cannot jointly adopt children. This isn't a question of who makes better parents - plenty of gays have kids, and single gays face no barrier to adoption - but rather one of a pointless and stupid hangover from the benighted past. It is long past time this was corrected, and there is now a bill in the ballot to do so. I look forward to it being drawn and passed.


Are you sure adoption was not left out of the recent reforms. Heres a Hansard report of Wednesday 9 March 2005 - and the vote failed.
Subpart 1AA—Amendments to Adoption Act 1955
11AA Adoption Act 1955 called principal act in this subpart
In this subpart, the Adoption Act 1955, is called “the principal Act.”
11AB Interpretation
Section 2 of the principal Act is amended by repealing the definition of adoptive parent, and substituting the following definition:
“adoptive parent means any person who adopts a child in accordance with an adoption order; and in the case of an order made in
favour of a husband and wife or of civil union partners on their joint application, means both the husband and wife or civil union
partners, but does not include a spouse or partner who merely consents to an adoption”.
11AC Power to make adoption orders
(1) Section 3(2) of the principal Act is amended by inserting, after the word “spouses”, the words “or civil union partners”.
(2) Section 3(3) of the principal Act is amended by inserting, after the word “spouse”, the words “or civil union partner

Posted by Swimming : 7/09/2006 04:07:00 PM

The Act also allowed easier immigration of foreign gay partners of Kiwis - I am one of those who benefitted from this change and able to immigrate from Europe purely based on the basis of my relationship. It's well-worth celebrating.

Posted by Hans Versluys : 7/11/2006 01:02:00 PM