Media ID 0219-AB
Parliamentary debate (23 October 1985) on the second reading of the Homosexual Law Reform Bill
Bill Dillon, Bill Sutton, David Butcher, Fred Gerbic, Jim Bolger, John Falloon
Parliamentary debate on the second reading spans 0213 – 0223, and 0206
This summary gives general themes as to the content of this recording. It is not a verbatim transcript. Always refer back to the original audio. This is a working document and any amendments/corrections are welcome.
Bill Dillon [continued from 0218-AB] – age of consent.. Finally may I refer to the third question - human rights.. it as a shield not a sword.. it is a protection.. I look at our history – Maori, women, Catholics .. in the 1930s there was discrimination against Catholics.. it hurts me to find that those who have been persecuted are now those in turn who become the persecutors.. Israel example.. minorities fighting back..
John Falloon – we cannot run away from such an issue.. I will be opposing the legislation.. Kinsey report.. I do not perceive we are ready to accept that homosexuality is normal behaviour.. Given a choice I would back away from the issue and let society make up its mind..
Falloon - I went to a boarding school where there was some homosexuality.. As a prefect I helped remove the headmaster from his job .. I know of the effect it had on the people concerned.. I’m strongly opposed to the age of sixteen.. The country is not ready .. gay teachers
Falloon – lack of tolerance.. activists in the Gay movement.. Hutt Valley meeting.. It was supposed to start with a prayer .. the gay people chanted from the floor .. sexual preference is different from a moral standard..
Falloon – I believe in the family .. the gay communities of the world aren’t stable.. gays bringing up children..
Speaker – warning members of the public gallery
Falloon – The law in this case must be a benchmark.. encouraging homosexuality.. if we don’t have the benchmark .. the family under threat..
Falloon – human rights.. if there was clear evidence of discrimination I would have a different view on this Bill.. This is only the beginning.. vulnerable people will be more vulnerable.. I am opposed to all parts of this legislation
David Butcher – I intend to support decriminalisation.. I am inclined to oppose the Human Rights part of the Bill.. age of consent .. reluctantly I have come to the view that the age of sixteen is the only logical age..
Butcher – Consulting my electorate.. polls.. went into politics in the mid-60s, since the 1969 election I indicated that I would support decriminalisation.. I resent the threatening tone of some of the communications I received.. pluralistic society.. three arguments I’d like to comment on: against Gods law.. we do not need to write it into our law.. is homosexuality immoral.. unnatural.. 5-10% are that way inclined.. how do heterosexuals choose their sexuality..
Butcher – example of young homosexual .. parents threw him out of the house.. went to Britain, met a friend who cared for him after an accident.. his friend couldn’t enter New Zealand..
Butcher - a further example: hard growing up as a fourteen year old in the 1950s.. had a brief homosexual experience at 17 .. now a lay reader in the Anglican Church.. his lover is an elder in the Presbyterian Church.. lived together for ten years as happily fulfilled criminals..
Butcher -we pride ourselves on democracy .. the right to be different..
Jim Bolger – there are many other important issues.. a Labour Party Bill.. members individually have to make their own judgement.. pressure is the norm in this type of legislation.. tactics obscure the real issues.. all should display tolerance.. abuse or threats won’t change Members views..
Bolger – I was in Parliament when Venn Young introduced his Bill.. I voted against his Bill and I will vote against this current Bill
Bolger – much has changed.. a more liberal view has a greater measure of support.. AIDS has emerged.. it is a fatal disease.. the most common way of getting AIDS is male anal intercourse .. the first part of the Bill seeks to legalise male anal intercourse.. I’m not persuaded that we should put that matter to one side.. wider spread of AIDS.. a major health threat..
Bolger – the proposition that the law has no place in the bedroom.. it has a role when you’re dealing with the young of the nation.. young people should be protected.. there are those who believe man-boy sex is normal.. do we legalise and give sanction to homosexual acts between consenting males.. promoting it as a normal, acceptable lifestyle..
Bolger – is there any level of harassment .. anal intercourse - I cannot persuade myself that it is a biologically normal function for the human body .. I will be voting against the Bill
Fred Gerbic – I will be voting in favour of this Bill.. the law is unenforceable.. the law has been no restraint on the development of homosexuality.. homosexuals are very good citizens.. they should not be classified as criminals.. I conducted a survey in my Onehunga electorate – equally divided..
Gerbic - Department of Justice submission .. report on age of consent in the UK – recommendation of reducing the age of consent from twenty-one to eighteen.. in my electorate the preference was for eighteen or twenty.. I think sixteen is too young..
Gerbic – I cannot accept homosexual activity is normal.. some people think there should be equality.. but we already have discrimination against young women..
Gerbic – I have concerns about the Human Rights amendment.. I haven’t heard of discrimination against homosexuals.. I would be quite delighted to rent my property to homosexuals.. I’ve had considerable experience in the employment area.. I haven’t come up against discrimination against homosexuals..
Gerbic – In passing this human rights legislation homosexuals are in a privileged position.. I am willing to be convinced on these issues .. I have an open mind
Bill Sutton - it raises fundamental issues.. I wish to speak as a scientist.. [continues on 0220-A]