Legal background for LGBT communities
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[00:00:00] This program is brought to you by pride in z.com. And funded through a generous grant from the guideline Wellington trust with the support of the rule foundation. [00:00:10] Hi, I'm Dr. Allison Lori, obviously general Women's Studies Program Director at Victoria University, Wellington, here in New Zealand for many years. I'm a writer, and a historian, and believe in gay activist. Today, I'm going to be looking at the legal background, relating true same sexuality in October in New Zealand. And considering many of the changes that happened through the years. I don't start off by thinking about the situation before European context. [00:00:48] Marty, the indigenous inhabitants of this country came here, some hundreds of years ago, there's various discussions about that some people think it might have been 800 years ago, other people think it could have been 1200 years ago. But whenever [00:01:07] body came in a series of canoes known as Walker, and settled in various parts of the country, instances of same sex relations and modern culture. [00:01:21] Interesting, it certainly appears that they were not really restrictions against that kind of behavior. There were very strong restrictions and multicultural about who could marry [00:01:35] those kinds of questions of genealogy and what would be appropriate dear, so far as we know and more searches being done on this topic by number of prominent modern scholars, and quite a bit has been written about it. So first, we know, relations between me in or between women were reasonably well accepted and modern society. Some of the scholars have gone back to look at what possible terminology may have been used. And in the very famous story of Hindi more into tenneco, which is usually interpreted as being a heterosexual love stories it in Rotorua, [00:02:18] this reference in that story, which has been noted, which was noted independently by several modern scholars, to talk a top way, a multi word meaning intimate Companion of the same sex, and to tonic I had an intimate companion, he had his talk a top way tricky, whom he was very, very close to. So that would imply that this was well accepted that you would have someone like that, of course, it wouldn't mean that you didn't marry you, if you were, particularly if you are high born you would have a responsibility to provide children is to carry on the bloodline. But what you might do with your own six because they couldn't be children from that is probably not taken as [00:03:07] taking particularly seriously on certainly not seen as a threat to any kind of social order. [00:03:14] There are some early European records based on this. [00:03:19] One source is the is a French source, from a brew, who was a Frenchman on the ship, limits cotton and 7072. And he observed, these nations are greatly given to embracing each other. But in the occurrences, they display a much noticeable ferocity. They strangely fond of kissing each other. And this idea with great intensity, they never weary of admiring Africans, especially the white does, they sucked the flesh with an astonishing greediness. So there are a number of reports like this from European observers, which clearly would show that this was not at all unusual. [00:04:06] And there are other kinds of reports, particularly things and song which suggests that tree, the 19th century, there's plenty of this kind of activity going on. And we also know that some Europeans were involved with Marty, in particular, the Reverend William EA to work for the church Missionary Society in the Bay of Islands. And he was closely involved with a number of young modern mean, he, he was reprimanded by the church but and that has been ripped about to some extent, but he was not the only one. So what we can assume from that is that cat before the coming of European law, and European attitudes towards same sexuality, there was a much more open, much more natural attitude of simply acceptance of this among [00:05:01] Mara. [00:05:03] So the first people to come, were whalers, sealers, they came from various parts of Europe. And when we look at the mix of people coming into South Island, and really those people married, or at least had set up some kind of family unions, with local people, and we now know that there would have been people, men, all men, [00:05:29] from Holland, from Norway, from Denmark, Aboriginal men from Australia, Native American men from North America, [00:05:38] a lot of groupings from the whole world really were coming in. And, [00:05:43] and and were involved in these kinds of different activities at the same time, but later, the missionaries began to come. The first ones were the French, they came in the north, then came the Church of England. And by the time we get to a place about 1800, the, the church Missionary Society is starting to get concerned about what it sees as lawlessness, a lot of Europeans who aren't under any kind of control that seem to be breaking the law a lot, there's a lot of drunkenness, [00:06:17] and so on. So they begin to talk about the fact that it would be a good idea if this country, which now became known as New Zealand, if this country were to be brought into the British Empire as a colony. And so that was discussed for some time and event that eventually, there was a treaty signed, that's known as the Treaty of white army, and that was signed in 1840. And it was signed between the British crown and at that time, that was Queen Victoria, and meaty of the Mahdi tribes, not all of them. But many of them. [00:06:59] And probably British law applies from this time, it's clear that the British weren't totally certain of this, because in 1958, they passed a law which is known as the as the English laws Act, which states that all laws enforced on the 14th of January 1840, apply to New Zealand. So they may have thought that there could be some difficulty in being quite certain that all these laws would apply here. So once the laws apply, these laws included prohibitions against crimes known as buggery, or sodomy, that is to say, sexual relations between males, for which the penalty was imprisonment from 10 years to life. And in fact, the death penalty for these acts had been abolished only in 1836, in England, so that four years before the treaty, [00:07:55] the border from law against sexual, he wasn't fake, potent force in 1533, by Henry the apes, when he took over the church established the Church of England. And this is the first rule on his box. And you might say, Well, what did Henry the Eighth have against sex relations between men. And it seems likely that he had nothing against that it was just a very useful law, to charge into the monasteries, and on the pretext that they committed a crime because they're having sex together. And of course, everybody thought that's what Max and priests would be likely to be doing. And then you could take over the monastery and confiscate all the property, and that was very [00:08:41] enriching for the British throne. So that law had been enforced right from them. So it when we get to 1836, the death penalty is removed. So that's the first change and all those years. And that's this rule, then, from that time that applies in New Zealand. And the fences gets the person act 1867. That's the first New Zealand more, which passed, actually here, which criminalizes buggery, and it retains the punishment of imprisonment from 10 years to live. And then, in 1993, the General Assembly passes the Criminal Code Act, which repeals that, but retains the sections against beggary. Now, what's important about this is that this is based upon the English laws crimes, activating 85, which criminalized sex between being four, which conceived was no defense, and it's any kind of sexual relations. And that's the law, which asked, why does it prison for in England, so this was what then gets passed here. And that's the one that continues, there are no laws prohibiting secrets, women. [00:10:02] And you could take several views about that. [00:10:05] One is that, certainly for many centuries, because of [00:10:12] six to 10 attributes about men and women, it was thought that women couldn't really be having six women didn't have penises, there's no way that women could penetrate one another. So sexual relations don't happen between women. That's one school of thought. Another school of thought is Who cares what women and children do anyway, so long as you can control them economically. And certainly, the other law that came to New Zealand was the was the law regarding the position of women, [00:10:40] which based on a an opinion, in the late 18th century said that women were the property of their fathers, and on marriage, the property of their husbands. So in a situation like that, it doesn't really matter what women do. So that's one thought about why little was didn't apply to women. The other thought is that when the discussions were held in England, in 1885, revising the law to make it apply in private and saying that conceit was no defense, there was an attempt to criminalize lesbianism, it passed through the House of Commons, but was rejected in the House of Lords by Lord desert, who stood up and made a very stirring speech and said that mentioning lesbianism in the law would be to bring it to the attention of women who've never heard of it, never dreamed of it, never thought of it. And that would be a very grave [00:11:36] mischief. [00:11:38] So the idea there is that women are very suggestible and that if you mentioned of the law, they might get the idea, and then they might go and do it. So that's the other opinion about why such a law was not passed here. In other parts of the world, there was legislation against sex between women, especially in some of the states in the United States, and other parts of Europe. So that wasn't a universal thought. But it wasn't criminalized in England, and it wasn't criminalized here. [00:12:08] So after the late 19th century, we move on into the early 20th century, there's another act in 1908, and that reaffirms the sections of the Criminal Code, and the kinds of punishments that were applied. [00:12:27] Some of the punishments are pretty terrible, the 1893 Act, [00:12:33] punished beggary by life, imprisonment, hard labor, and flogging. And then it's not till 1941 that the punishment of flogging is removed from New Zealand law, retaining life imprisonment, that's the 1941 crimes Amendment Act, and not to 1954 is the punishment of hard labor removed from the rule, but it retains life imprisonment. [00:13:00] Now, this country has followed what happened in Britain fairly closely, although we became a Dominion in the early 20th century, meaning that we have local self government, nonetheless, we retain the British Crown, and certain kind of cultural crunch in terms of [00:13:21] legislation and things of that kind. So what was very important was the Wolfington report, which reported in 1957, to the British Parliament, the Wolfington committee was set up to look at prostitution and to look at homosexual behavior. And that committee recommended the decriminalization of prostitution with some regulations around that. And it also recommended decriminalizing private consenting homosexual behavior. And that's it in 57. So that was known about here and from Dean, there are certain discussions about [00:14:00] but there's no real commitment to any kind of decriminalization. [00:14:06] And although [00:14:08] the Sexual Offences Act of 1967, abolishes total prohibition of homosexual acts, and England with an age of consent of 20 years, that doesn't, that that's not that discussion. It's not really held here. However, in 1961, the crime sec reduces penalties for homosexual acts. But it introduces leaves in as amended the law by criminalizing sexual relations between women over 21, and girls under 16. And you can say, well, that's fair enough, because it's, it's abuse of minors, but it's clearly a move. That means that once you get some kind of recognition, obviously knows have entered the law, that you could play around with how you interpret that by saying that consent is no defense, you can play around with those ages. And as we enter the 1960s, we are entering a decade. We're [00:15:00] the first people of the baby boomer generation born during the war, are starting to come of age and they are beginning to question many things. So the whole question of homosexual Law Reform becomes part of those discussions as that decade continues, and I'll be talking about that later, in another talk. [00:15:23] This program was funded through a generous grant from the Galen Willington trust with the support of the rule foundation and brought to you by pride in zero.com.
This page features computer generated text of the source audio - it is not a transcript. The Artificial Intelligence Text is provided to help users when searching for keywords or phrases. The text has not been manually checked for accuracy against the original audio and will contain many errors.