Showing posts with label New Zealand. Show all posts
Showing posts with label New Zealand. Show all posts

July 7, 2017

New Zealand Apologizes for Hundreds of Gay Convictions

In Wellington, New Zealand lawmakers unanimously apologized Thursday for the “tremendous hurt and suffering” of hundreds of men who were convicted of homosexuality during the years it was treated as a crime. 
Parliament took the rare step of issuing a formal apology to all those unfairly convicted under the antiquated laws. Lawmakers also approved the first stage of a bill that will allow the men to have their criminal records wiped clean, legislation that comes four years after the South Pacific nation legalized same-sex marriage. 
The measures were passed with unanimous approval among lawmakers from various political parties. 
Amy Adams
Justice Minister Amy Adams talks to reporters Thursday, July 6, 2017, in Wellington, New Zealand. Nick Perry / AP
“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,” said Justice Minister Amy Adams. 
She said it was unimaginable today that consensual sex between adults would be considered criminal. 
“It is never too late to apologize,” Adams told lawmakers. “While we cannot ever erase the injustice, this apology is a symbolic but important act that we hope will help address the harm and right this historic wrong.” 
The government estimates about 1,000 men will be eligible to have their convictions quashed. Most were prosecuted after 1965 and before 1986, when New Zealand decriminalized homosexuality. They were convicted of crimes such as indecency, sodomy and providing a place for homosexual acts. 
Those with convictions will need to apply to have their cases assessed because the law didn’t distinguish between consensual and nonconsensual gay sex, Adams said. 
Sex between women was never explicitly illegal under New Zealand law. 
Opposition lawmaker Grant Robertson quoted from a man who was forced to resign from the Army because of his sexuality. 
“This conviction still leads, after 53 years, to self-hatred, worthlessness, unjustified guilt and shame,” the unnamed man said, according to Robertson. He said the law change would allow the man to feel some dignity in his final years.  
Robertson, who is openly gay, said he stood on the shoulders of those who had been convicted. 
“The fact that I, as a gay man, can be out and proud and a member of parliament is but a small tribute to you,” he said. 
Adams has said the convicted men will not receive any compensation, although Robertson said that should be reconsidered.

April 9, 2016

Hillary’s Emails Indicate Hardship of Gay Diplomats in New Zealand

The US Department of State has released emails to and from Hillary Clinton that describe gay American and New Zealand diplomats encountering “significant hardship” while serving in both countries.
The emails were released in February and include correspondence from former New Zealand ambassador David Huebner, who held the position from 2009 to 2014 and who was the third openly gay ambassador the United States has ever appointed.

In an email written to Clinton’s chief of staff in 2012, Huebner thanked his administration for bringing up the issue of accommodation for his partner Dr Duane McWaine.

"Please deep thanks for raising with NZ Foreign Minister McCully the issue of diplomat same-sex spouse work accommodation.

"GNZ's [government of New Zealand's] refusal to extend to same-sex spouses (whether married, registered as domestic partners, or otherwise) the benefits granted to married opposite-sex spouses has caused significant hardship for several members of our mission as well as for a comparable number of Kiwi diplomats serving in the US."

In the email, mostly censored, he went on to say, "[Foreign service officers] with more limited resources, however, including [redacted] have been severely impacted by the situation.

"Including the issue on the agenda signalled to the Foreign Minister the importance of the issue...and I suspect that it will prod him into reopening the matter in some fashion, despite his prior flat refusal.”

The Department of State began to consider visa applications by same-sex spouses in the same manner as other unions in 2013 after the United States passed marriage equality legislation. 

Posted in:  New Zealand Daily News 
By Daily News 

March 30, 2015

Egyptian Gay Man Granted Refugee Status by NZ

A gay Egyptian man who was bullied and ostracised in his home nation due to his “appearance” and “demeanour” has been declared a refugee by the New Zealand Immigration and Protection Tribunal.
The man appealed a decision by the Refugee Status Branch denying him refugee status, arguing that he was at risk of being persecuted if he was returned to Egypt, because he is gay. 
The Tribunal decision says his predicament turns on the fact he is gay.
“While the social and religious dictates of Egyptian society make it impossible for him to overtly acknowledge this, he has faced continual harassment and prejudice as a result of looking and behaving in a way that was perceived to be different from the norm,” it reads.
“This created difficulties for him throughout his school years, with both fellow pupils and teachers alike. A paternal uncle convinced his father to send him to a military school to toughen him up. He was perennially bullied and on at least one occasion subjected to a sexual assault from which he escaped before it became significantly more serious than it was. 
“His early efforts to complain about his treatment in general were met with an unsympathetic response. He did not complain further.”
As an adult he worked as a laboratory assistant at a hospital, but left after 18 months due after he was ostracised. He was able to travel thanks to a trust fund, and came to New Zealand in 2005.
“Despite feeling much more comfortable with life in New Zealand, he still maintained a degree of privacy about his personal life. He did not feel the need to hide or deny his sexuality as he had in Egypt but, if asked about it, simply tended to divert the question,” the decision reads.
In 2012 he married a New Zealand citizen in exchange for money, something the Tribunal says doesn’t contradict his claim he is gay, but “simply reflects an ill-advised (and dishonest) attempt to try to remain in New Zealand”.
He is now in a relationship with a man and says he would be ostracised by his family if he had to return to Egypt, and it would be impossible to live there independently and safely. 
“While he has survived in the past by hiding his sexuality as best he can, he is at an age where this would be increasingly difficult. This is particularly so because for the past 10 years, while he has lived in New Zealand, he has become accustomed to not having to suppress his fundamental identity,” the decision reads.
The Tribunal has upheld the appeal and granted the man refugee status, saying it has taken into account evidence the Refugee Status Branch didn’t have when it made its initial decision, including clear evidence he is gay.
It says while there are no specific laws criminalizing homosexuality in Egypt, the authorities tend to target the gay community under the guise of public morality laws, which they use to justify making arrests and pursuing prosecutions.
The Tribunal says the man has a well-founded fear of being persecuted in Egypt.

September 12, 2014

In New Zealand Two straight Buddies marry to get Rugby World Cup Tickets


“Give me an american baseball bat and five minutes with each of these two asses” Adam

Two men are going to take advantage of New Zealand's liberal same-sex marriage laws tomorrow when they tie the knot, but gay rights campaigners in the Commonwealth nation have called it an "insult", as both partners in the union are straight best friends. 

Rugby-mad engineer Travis McIntosh, 23, and teacher Matt McCormick, 24, have known each other nearly twenty years. They entered a "bromance" competition run by a local NZ radio station last month hoping to win an all expenses-paid trip to the UK for the 2015 Rugby World Cup.
Edge FM launched the "Love You, Man" campaign back in August as part of the build-up to the competition, in which two straight best friends would be chosen to enjoy the trip, on the condition they would go as a legally married couple.
Despite the apparently innocent enjoyment afforded by the competition, local gay rights groups are "horrified" by the move, according to the New Zealand Herald. A "queer support" coordinator from Otago University criticised the union, saying it was an "insult", and that it "trivialises what we fought for". 
The co-chairman of a local group called LegaliseLove ironically echoed the words of groups who originally opposed same-sex marriage when he said the competition "attacked the legitimacy of gay marriage". Despite that, he took a more philosophical view on the long term implications, saying: "Maybe on the day that statistics around mental health for LGBTI (Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender and Intersex) people are better, when high schools are safe places for LGBTI youth, we can look back on all this and laugh".
Edge Radio has previous form in using marriage as a pretext for its shows and promotional stunts. According to New Zealand entertainment magazine Media Works: "The Edge has built a reputation on creating outrageous weddings that create successful marriages. It started 13 years ago when they married two complete strangers, Paula Stockwell and Zane Nicholl. 
"Since then they’ve married two more sets of strangers, eloped three couples to Las Vegas, married a couple without clothes in Nudie Nuptials, left the groom to do all the work in Man Made Wedding and last year celebrated same sex marriage by marrying two gay couples".
Fortunately for the couple, under New Zealand law couples no longer have to physically consummate marriage for it to be legal, so they can remain happily friends-without-benefits despite their new legal status.

August 19, 2013

New Zealand Hold It’s First Same Sex Wedding

Melissa Ray and Natasha Vitali head to their reception on a horse and carriage (Source: ONE News)

New Zealand's first gay weddings are taking place after the country became the first in the Asia-Pacific region and 14th in the world to legalise same-sex marriage.

Thirty-one same-sex couples planned to marry on Monday, according to the Department of Internal Affairs.
It comes after New Zealand's parliament passed a bill in April amending the country's 1955 marriage act.
The move had faced opposition from Christian lobby groups.
'All love is holy'
Among the first couples tying the knot were Auckland couple Tash Vitali and Melissa Ray, who won an all expenses paid ceremony in a radio competition.
"The world is still a dangerous and even deadly place for gay, bisexual and transgender people," Reverend Matt Tittle said, according to
"We thank God that's not true in New Zealand.
"All love is holy."
Another couple were set to marry on an early flight between Queenstown and Auckland in a ceremony sponsored by Air New Zealand. US actor Jesse Tyler Ferguson from the sitcom Modern Family was reportedly a guest.
Same-sex couples from other countries are also expected to wed.
About 1,000 same-sex couples in Australia indicated that planned to travel to the neighbouring country to marry, according to the Australian Marriage Equality lobby group.
The moment same-sex marriage became legal in New Zealand
The first Australian couple to do so was expected to be Paul McCarthy and Trent Kandler, who beat 300 other pairs to win a Tourism New Zealand competition.
Their wedding will not be legally recognised in their home country, but Mr McCarthy told AFP news agency the move was "both historically significant, and an important step in our personal lives".
The law change has angered some religious leaders, with the Anglican Church asking its ministers not to conduct the weddings pending a report to its general synod next year.
Catholic bishops have opposed the weddings outright while other denominations have been split.
New Zealand's MPs approved the bill by a large majority in April this year, with 77 votes in favour and 44 against.
The public gallery erupted into song after the announcement that the change had been passed.

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