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Homosexual Law Reform Comes of Age

Media Release – Rainbow Labour (Wellington) 09 July 2004

Homosexual Law Reform Comes of Age

18 years ago this Friday, July 9th, Homosexual Law Reform passed into law in New Zealand. Some of the key players in ensuring the Bill's success will be celebrating that anniversary on Friday at Premier House, the Prime Minister's residence, along with 150 of Wellington's Gay and Lesbian community.

The event is being hosted by Hon Marian Hobbs, and organised by Rainbow Labour and GAP (Gay Association of Professionals). Key figures in the struggle for homosexual law reform who will speak include former MPs Hon Fran Wilde and Judy Keall, and activists Alison Laurie and Bill Logan. They will share memories of the campaign to decriminalise gay sex and discuss the wider symbolic importance of the victory in moving towards equality before the law for gay and lesbian people.

"We have come a long way since homosexual law reform in 1986 and then the passing 11 years ago of the Human Rights Act which banned discrimination based on sexuality," said Judie Alison, Co-Chair of Rainbow Labour Wellington.

"Yet we still face significant homophobia from some extremist opponents, and this has been very evident as a result of the introduction of Civil Union legislation. It is an important time to get together and remember where we have come from in our fight for human rights and equality before the law," she said.

"Many of us involved in organising this event were not born or were small children at the time of the passing of homosexual law reform. While we were not there to engage in the struggle, we benefit from the hard work that many people put into ensuring that the Bill passed into law 18 years ago. Now many of us are returning the favour by getting involved to ensure the passing of the Civil Union and Relationship (Statutory References) Bill," said Nic Smith, Co-Chair of Rainbow Labour Wellington.

"Who would have thought 18 years ago that we'd have two openly gay MPs, and the world's first transgender MP in Parliament in New Zealand?" he asked.

Tickets are $30, to cover refreshments and venue costs. There will also be music by Strumpet and Michelle Glamuzina.

ENDS

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