Transcript

This transcript has been lightly edited for clarity

Speaker: [audio recording of Parliamentary vote] The question is....

Would honorable members please resume their seats.

The question is that the Homosexual Law Reform Bill be now read a third time, the ayes are 49, the noes are 44. It will be read a third time.

[cheering and applause]

Jon Lusk: That was a recording of the final vote on the third reading of the gay law reform bill, and yesterday at noon the Governor General signed the bill and it passed into law. And this program of Gay BC is for all those who fought for law reform in New Zealand. We'll have more highlights from Parliament's historic Wednesday night session soon, but first of all.

[music]

George Gair: [audio recording of Parliamentary vote] Now sir, the argument has been going on so long that inevitably Parliament now must address the final crunch. The fact that there has been no willingness to compromise is as much on the heads and the responsibility of those who are opposed to the bill as those who are for the bill in its present form. Each could have worked with those in the middle ground to find a compromise which would have produced a change in the law, would have produced reform, but an age a little higher than that proposed in the bill.

Now sir, those like myself, who I believe do represent the middle ground, are presented with really three options: to vote against the bill, to abstain, or to vote for the bill unamended.

I cannot vote against it, sir, because this change – a change – is long overdue, and that I have sought to make clear.

I considered for some time that perhaps the course was to abstain, and I agonized over this point and I must say that there are some aspects of abstention that are appealing, but in the final analysis a vote for abstention, I reasoned, was passing the responsibility over to others, and that I'm not prepared to do.

So, I was presented with what I feel is a difficult choice between two propositions, neither of which I like but one of which I like less than the other. So sir, I will when the vote is taken vote for the bill, but I grant you, with considerable reluctance.

If the vote tonight is finely balanced either for or against, it is certain that the arguments will come back again. It will haunt this chamber until New Zealand society finds a way of living with change.

Mr Speaker, the last plea I make is that however Members may vote tonight, those beyond this chamber and outside will not judge the individual Members too harshly because even those who oppose me and oppose my position, I believe are voting with their conscience and they are voting for what they believe to be right.

[applause]

Speaker: Mr. Banks.

John Banks: Some shallow, humbug and weak rhetoric from the Member for North Shore; an historical dissertation of negligible substance, of negligible substance. The Member, halfway through his speech that was an abstain speech until 70% of it was delivered, said, "The sponsors of this bill are asking for too much," and I'll say to the Member, as I said to him privately, I'm terribly, terribly disappointed in the Member for North Shore. He is a colleague of mine. And sir, I hope after this is gone he will continue to be a friend of mine.

[derisive noise from Members]

John Banks: That I'm, sir, prepared to stand up and be counted and say that if the Member for North Shore voted with the rest of his colleagues just one week ago we would not be debating this bill tonight. This day will be remembered as a sad and sickening day for New Zealand, a sad and sickening day for New Zealand; a very black cloud hangs over this Parliament tonight, and those Members that wheel themselves through the doors of the Ayes lobby, voting for legalized sodomy at the age of 16, should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves.

Speaker: Yes, Mr Jones.

Norm Jones: This bill could have been defeated last Wednesday by 46 votes to 44. Two Wednesdays previously it could have been defeated by four votes. Tonight, and I know the numbers as well as the Member for Wellington Central knows it, this bill will be passed through by 48 votes to 45 – and I've done the counting – by 48 votes to 45, or 47 votes to 46, just depending on who hasn't made up their mind.

There's no compromise on sodomy. It's either right or it's wrong, and it's wrong as hell and everybody knows that.

And as for the Member for North Shore, of course, give the Member for North Shore eight alternatives and he'll look for a ninth... and he'll look for a ninth; it's typical.

Speaker: Yes. Miss Annette King.

Annette King: Mr Speaker, I move that the question be now put.

Speaker: The question now is that the Homosexual Law Reform Bill be now read a third time. Those who are of that opinion will say aye.

[some members respond with "aye"]

Speaker: Of the contrary opinion will say no.

[some members respond with "no"]

Speaker: They "ayes" have it.

Member: Division called for.

Speaker: Division called for. Ring the bell.

The question is....

Would honorable Members please resume their seats?

The question is that the Homosexual Law Reform Bill be now read a third time. The ayes are 49; the noes are 44. It will be read a third time.

[sustained cheering and applause]

Speaker: Clear the gallery! Clear the gallery! The House will not tolerate this interference. I want that offender removed from the gallery. Any further disturbance from the galleries and I will have them cleared.

Voice: Homosexual Law Reform Bill, third reading.

Member: [crosstalk]... unlock the doors.

Speaker: Yes, unlock the doors.

Member: Yes, unlock the doors.

Jon Lusk: Well, those are a few of the highlights of Wednesday night in Parliament as Fran Wilde's gay law reform bill passed its third reading. And I think the Speaker was talking about a certain fundamentalist Christian who stood up and foamed at the mouth in the public gallery just when the Law Reform Bill was passed.

John Banks was right, of course, there is no generic connection at all for homosexuality.

And before that we had a song from Bronski Beat. That was off the new album called Truth Doubledare [sic], and the song was called "Hit That Perfect Beat Boy."

All right, we've got some news now and this is read by Ian.

Ian Kember: Creation scientists, the people who believe that the world was made in six days, can now join the newly reformed Creation Science Association. Renton Maclachlan of the Open Brethren Research Fellowship has formed this new group, "to recognize the relevance of creation to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, as it is spoken into a society that seems to be increasingly humanistic."

A conference for lesbian and gays in education is to be held in Wellington in August. The conference has been organized by a group of gay and lesbian students and teachers. For further information contact:

Lesbians and Gays in Education

P. O. Box 3264

Wellington

Or phone Tighe or Andy

Things seem to be looking up for gay nightlife in Wellington and Christchurch. In Christchurch, Angles Nightclub which has been closed due to fire damage, was reopened on Queen's Birthday Weekend to a 350-strong crowd.

Meanwhile in Wellington, Brett Sheppard of the OUT! empire, who owns Alfie's in Auckland, among other gay venues, is planning to open a nightclub in Wellington soon. As yet they have not found a suitable location, as far as we know.

Also, the Electric Ballroom in Victoria Street opposite McDonald's will continue to run discos for lesbians and gay men. The next dance is planned for Saturday, the 26th of July, and Saturday, the 2nd of August.

The dances at Victoria University continue to pull large crowds, and last weekend's dance was a colorful and friendly affair. Funds raised from these dances, which are run by the Lesbian and Gay Student Group, are being channeled back into lesbian and gay community groups. The Lesbian and Gay Rights Resource Center, the AIDS Support Network, Gay Community Center, Gay and Lesbian Switchboards, and the Women's Place Bookshop have all benefited from considerable donations as a result of recent dance fundraising. So, support your community and have fun while you're about it.

Wellington's team for the Gay Games Two in San Francisco later this year has decided that it will not participate in the games if there is any participation by gay South African sportspeople. The decision was prompted by a letter from HART (Halt all Racist Tours) concerning the plight of a gay and anti-apartheid activist, Simon Nkoli, currently imprisoned in South Africa. Apparently, gay groups from South Africa have not responded to requests from other international groups for them to do something about the situation. However, while it is all very well to say what you like, if you're not living in South Africa it is not clear either what sort of pressure gay political groups are under in South Africa.

And now some international gay news.

New Zealand is not the only country to have recently achieved gay law reform. Belgium has had an age of consent of 16, and a bill repealing the discriminatory age of 18 was passed in the senate in June. The repeal bill was first introduced by a Socialist MP in June, 1983.

A new move towards equality for gay and lesbian couples has been made in Australia. The lobbying group called The Gay Immigration Task Force has succeeded in getting the Australian Federal Minister for Immigration to allow non-Australian partners of gay Australians permanent residency on the basis of genuine relationships. The Minister required that proof in the form of evidence that a couple had lived together for more than four years was required. Temporary resident visas will be allowed so as to establish the four-year period in cases. So far 40 applications for permanent or temporary residence have been approved. While this is hardly equality with the laws governing heterosexual marriages and immigration, it is a step.

If you are interested, the group can be contacted at:

GITF

P.O. Box 415

NSW 2001, Australia

[music]

Jon Lusk: Well, that was the never ending 12-inch version of Love to Love You, Baby from Bronski Beat before Jimmy Somerville left them.

It's just about 12:00 o'clock, and I'll just give you a few community notices before we go.

Pink Triangle has just been published, the latest edition, and it features as well as international news, which we ripped off for this program, an interview with Dennis Altman, the Australian gay-rights activist and author of AIDS and the New Puritanism, and that book is reviewed, among other things, in Pink Triangle, and also a live interview with him... well, not live, but an interview.

And there'll be a rundown of the gay and lesbian films in the film festival. I went to the first one last night called My Beautiful Laundrette, and it was excellent! There's also an interview with a person with AIDS.

Apart from that... oh yeah, you can get it in your local bookstore, good bookstores around town.

The real raffle is still being run by the Gay Task Force, and tickets are $2.00. The first prize is $400.00 and the raffle closes on July the 30th and it'll be drawn on the 6th of August. It's limited to 1,500 tickets, and the campaign may be over but the Task Force still has a lot of bills to pay so this is a fundraising effort that you can contribute to.

The next Gay Task Force meeting is on Wednesday the 24th of July at 6:00 PM at the Dorian, and the major point of discussion will be the future function of the Gay Task Force.

A victory celebration dance has been tentatively planned for the 23rd of July, and that’s on a Wednesday night, and among the guests will be leading MPs who supported the bill. The Task Force sent a flower to every MP who supported the bill on Thursday.

As from Monday the Gay Task Force office at the Community Center will be closed until further notice.

We've just heard from our roving reporter, Alison Laurie, that she telephoned the International Gay Association Conference in Copenhagen the night the bill was passed and told the news to Miriam Saphira, who is New Zealand's representative at that conference, and she relayed the news to a reception which was going on at the time and there was a great deal of celebration and clapping and cheering followed by a march to the American Embassy in Copenhagen protesting against the Supreme Court's decision in the US by five votes to four making sodomy unconstitutional, and that includes oral and anal intercourse for gay and straight people. So, we don't know what's going to happen in the future for those wondrous United States leaders.

If anybody wants to go to the International Lesbian and Gay Youth Conference being held in Oslo – that's different from the IGA conference. The International Conference for Lesbian and Gay Youth is being held in August, Oslo, and if you want to get involved in that or perhaps even go to it you should get in contact with Gay BC Collective. That's P.O. Box 3264, Wellington.

This is Gay BC Radio you're listening to, the gay radio collective, and if you want to ring for any information or counseling you can ring the switchboard on 728 609, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. That's the gay switchboard, 7 to 10 PM, for information and counseling.

Remember, the fight's not over. There's a great deal of cause for celebration but we lost part two of the bill, and lesbians and gays in this country still don't have any protection from anti-discrimination, so it's no time to sit back on our laurels. It looks like the fundamentalist Christians are planning a new campaign so we mustn't let them get away with what they tried to get away with before.

We'll see you later.

Transcript by cyberscrivener.com