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Great news from New Zealand this morning. According to the BBC, the nation’s government has passed legislation that will allow individuals who were charged under the country’s old laws against homosexuality to have their records wiped clean.
Homosexuality was illegal in New Zealand up until 1986. Up until that time, it was possible for men who wanted nothing more than to express their love or to enjoy one another to be slapped with charges with names such as “sodomy, indecency between males and keeping a place of resort for homosexual acts.” Anyone charged with these offense before 1986 still has the charge on their official police records. According to the BBC, around 1,000 individuals will have the option to scrub these bullshit charges from their records next year:
Justice Minister Andrew Little said the legislation “sends a clear signal that discrimination against gay people is no longer acceptable, and we are committed to putting right wrongs from the past”.
“I would like to apologize again to all the men and members of the rainbow community who have been affected by the prejudice, stigma and other negative effects caused by convictions for historical homosexual offenses,” Mr Little said.
In instances where an individual charged under the old laws has passed away, the New Zealand government is making it possible for the families of the deceased to apply to have their charges expunged as well.
Given that New Zealand passed laws banning discrimination against homosexuals in 1993, the official apology from the government and the olive branch of purging the records of those charged under the country’s old discriminatory laws has been a long time coming.
Image via Flickr, courtesy of Ludovic Bertron