New Zealand may not reverse historic gay sex convictions

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Homosexual Law Reform Act – which decriminalised gay sex – was passed 30 years ago. To mark the anniversary of the law change, Green MP Kevin Hague tabled a petition started by Wiremu Demchick requesting that Parliament issue an official apology and pardon those convicted of “homosexual acts” before 1986. “People who were convicted under historic immoral laws should not have to live with those convictions on their records today,” said Mr Hague.

But the country’s Minister of Justice claimed that reversing the convictions would be a “very difficult process” because the law didn’t distinguish between consensual and non-consensual acts. “A lot of the offences are still offences under today’s law,” Ms Adams said. “Around under-age children and the like, so it’s not as simple as a blanket approach.” She continued that, “if it was even possible,” the task of pardoning would be a very detailed process going through each case and determining if it would still be illegal. Though the exact number is unknown, it’s believed around 400 men were convicted of “homosexual acts” when sexual contact between men was still illegal. So 80% of people judged 30 years ago are considered criminals even according to the current country’s law. But the Minister added that if there is a special commission to decide that the law should be reconsidered, she is ready to bring her sincere apologies.

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