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Crime

New Zealand: Campaign seeks to expunge historic gay sex convictions

Joseph McCormick January 19, 2015

A campaign is under way to have historic gay sex convictions for men in New Zealand expunged.

A petition on social media notes that gay sex was illegal until 1986 in New Zealand, prior to which it was punishable with up to seven years in prison.

According to the campaign, started by Wiremu Demchick from Wellington, stigma still hangs over the gay community despite the ban having been lifted.

Demchick said the Justice Minister had offered to at least listen to the community.

He aims to have gay men to have their records wiped clean “for people still living with the public disgrace brought by conviction to live the last years of their life in a better state than before.”

“In 2016, it will have been 30 years since the Homosexual Law Reform Act was voted into law by the New Zealand House of Representatives,” says petition organiser Wiremu Demchick in an interview with Rainbow Wellington.

“A brave and determined campaign ensured that this vital reform ended the institutionalised persecution of gay men,” he says.

“But our work isn’t finished. Men convicted of homosexual acts were never pardoned, and thus still have criminal records.

“Let’s ask Parliament to pardon these men. They have waited long enough for justice.”

The Clean Slate Act, passed in 2004, means that those convicted before 1986 do not need to declare the convictions, but petition organisers say this is not the same as having the convictions wiped out.

Demchick hopes to have at least 3,000 signatures before he presents the petition to the House in March.

More: New Zealand

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