Tuesday, July 11, 2006

20 years of sexual freedom



DPF and this story on Gaynz.com (hat tip No Right Turn). This doesn’t concern the Bible bashing Taliban of our day, but is horrendous, and shows how readily the Police were willing to clamp down on ANYONE the state deemed as “perverted”. If you wonder how fascism can come to pass, then look – because it existed, for gay people until 1986.
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I give a damn because no other Bill in recent times represents the most fundamental personal liberty that any adults should have. The right to consensual sexual interaction in peace. You see, the same people who still oppose homosexual law reform (one is doing time for molesting young girls and stood for Parliament several times), basically believe you do NOT own your body. They believe your body should be regulated by the state, by their churches and that it is moral to imprison people for doing what they want in their own bedrooms. What gives them ANY right to tell any other adult what to do? Nothing does. Interestingly, the law at the time had no prohibition against adult women engaging in sexual behaviour with each other, as the traditional view had been that having such a law would encourage women to experiment!!
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Homosexual law reform was the last great bastion of sexual liberation, and it required enormous courage. It isn’t just about sex (of all kinds) between men, it also legalised sodomy generally (between men and women as well).
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A number of individuals stand out at the time. Fran Wilde for having the courage to introduce the Bill in the first place. That is, in my opinion, her greatest political achievement, and no small one. George Gair, as the National MP with the casting vote. He had hesitation in supporting the Bill because it set the gay age of consent at 16, he preferred 18. However, he decided to vote yes on the final reading at 16 – that was something for a former National Cabinet Minister, one of the most liberal ones in a very old fashioned male dominated caucus.
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There were those who campaigned actively against the Bill. Graeme Lee National MP, who later went to the Christian Democrats, which is now part of United Future (Peter Dunne voted for the Bill). Geoff Braybrooke, Labour MP for Napier, campaigned loudly against it, as did fellow Labour MP Allan Wallbank, Norm Jones the Invercargill National MP. John Banks may choose to forget it now, but he was a loud campaigner against it as well. Those old dinosaurs are long gone from Parliament, but their bigotry was the centre of the battle between liberals and conservatives. Bigotry where the word sodomy would be thrown around like old southern baptist preachers harping on about "fornication".
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The Bill was passed broadly on Labour/National lines, with most Labour MPs supporting it and most National MPs opposing it. Labour’s Maori MPs opposed it, no doubt because the Ratana Church was conservative. Many National MPs who would have been thought of as being liberal, voted against it, such as Lockwood Smith, Doug Graham and Simon Upton - the courage of mice. Jim Bolger and Rob Muldoon voted against it. National MPs Katherine O'Regan and Ian Maclean voted for it.
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More notable was the campaigning by the Salvation Army, which collected signatures and petitions against the Bill. This burnt much goodwill that many gay and lesbian people had towards the Sallies, as they revealed themselves to not be the objectively kind people they always had been thought of as being. A Salvation Army that happily would see you imprisoned for sex with another man was hardly kind. (Hat Tip Maia for pointing out that the Sallies have apologised). The Catholic Church opposed it too. It is not true that this is because it retained an age of consent.
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Other notable New Zealanders including Sir Keith Hay and Sir Peter Tait, both opposed the Bill. Old fashioned fascists who forgot separation of church and state.
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So it is 20 years on. NZ is not full of boys bumming each other, catching HIV and the population is not in inexorable decline. The alleged communist plot (odd given how homosexuals faced enormous bigotry in the former Soviet bloc) behind the Bill failed, with the collapse of the communist bloc 3 years later. The “Coalition of Concerned Citizens” who outlined in incredibly graphic detail what homosexuals did (including fellatio!! Incredible!) moved onto Graham Capill and Brian Tamaki - and together got less than 1% of the vote in the last election. The National Party of today is predominantly liberal, and Labour is in coalition with a party that includes the remnants of the Christian Democrats, led by a former Labour MP who supported the Bill. How much times have changed.
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FreedomNZ on this
Maia here and here
Uroskin here

2 comments:

Uroskin said...

cheers for the link

Anonymous said...

stupid law with no practical application.