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April 29, 2013 | by  | in Features |
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Queer Did the Time Go?

1867: Last Deaths
Homosexual acts were punishable by death until the Offences Against the Person Act 1867 which changed the penalty from execution to life imprisonment. James Pratt and John Smith were the last people in the British realm to be be executed under the Buggery Act 1533.

1893: Buggery
The Criminal Code 1893 classed ‘buggery’ or sodomy as a crime against morality, making it punishable by life imprisonment, whipping,
flogging and hard labour. This remained New Zealand law for 68 years.

1961: No life imprisonment
The Crimes Act 1961 removed the term of life imprisonment for sodomy, but all legal sanctions against homosexual activity remained. The law change sparked the homosexual rights movements throughout the 1960s and 70s.

1986: Legalising Sex
The Homosexual Law Reform Act was passed, legalising consensual sex between men aged 16 and older. The Act was introduced by Labour MP at the time Fran Wilde, the current Chair of the Wellington Regional Council.

1981: Man to Man
The first gay newspaper Man to Man began publication.

1993: Gay Power
The Human Rights Act made it legal for lesbians, gay men and bisexuals to serve in the New Zealand military, “officially” ending most forms of employment discrimination. Labour MP for Te Atatu Chris Carter was also elected as the country’s first openly gay MP.

1994: Transsexual Marriage
The New Zealand High Court ruled that post-operative transsexuals can put a ring on it.

1867: Tick for Same-Sex
New Zealand census forms are amended to include same-sex couples as an option.

1996: Girls on Top
Openly lesbian twin sisters Jools and Lynda Topp—known as the Topp Twins—got their own comedy television series in New Zealand.

1999: Transsexual Power
Georgina Beyer was elected as New Zealand’s first transsexual MP as the Labour Party’s candidate for the Wairarapa.

2004: United
The Civil Union Bill passed, establishing civil unions for same-sex couples. It extended into law as an Act in 2005, with almost 3000 couples having them since.

2006: Gay Adoption
Green list MP Metiria Turei raised the issue of gay adoption, arguing that New Zealand’s Adoption Act 1955 no longer reflected the complexities of contemporary New Zealand society. She argued, following the enactment of the Civil Union Act in particular, that eligible lesbian and gay prospective parents should be allowed to legally adopt. At present, Green list MP Kevin Hague has taken over this member’s bill, which has yet to be drawn from the ballot.

2012: Louisa’s Marriage Bill
Labour MP Louisa Wall introduced the Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Bill as a private member’s bill, which would allow same-sex couples to marry. It was submitted to the members’-bill ballot on 30 May, drawn on 26 July and passed its first reading later in August. John Key became the first New Zealand Prime Minister to openly support marriage equality, stating “If two gay people want to get married I can’t see why it would undermine my marriage with Bronagh.”

2013: Put a Ring on It
In March, Wall’s Marriage Amendment Bill passed its second reading 77 votes to 44, despite a drop in support of three votes from the First Reading. The Bill passed its final reading in Parliament, again by 77 votes to 44, making New Zealand the 13th country to legalise marriage equality.

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