Article Title:Wanted: The heroes and heroines of law reform
Category:Features
Author or Credit:David Parrish
Published on:25th May 2006 - 12:00 pm
Published by:GayNZ.com
Story ID:1254
Text:Wellington's Rainbow Labour and GAP are seeking nominations of people to be honoured as the “sung and unsung heroes and heroines” of the homosexual law reform campaign. As part of their celebrations of the 20th Anniversary of law reform in New Zealand the groups are appealing to the LGBT community to help them identify those involved in the Wellington campaigns, which culminated in the passing of the Homosexual Law Reform Act in July 1986. The awards, some of which may be posthumous, will be presented at an official anniversary function at Premier House on July 9 which will be attended by prominent campaigners and politicians from the 80s through to today. Wellington Central Labour MP Marion Hobbs will be the Master of Ceremonies, and Fran Wilde, the MP who submitted the Homosexual Law Reform Bill to Parliament, will address the function. The organisers say a highlight is expected to be a speech delivered by a young person reflecting on the importance of law reform, and what that means to gay and lesbian youth in contemporary New Zealand. The citations on the awards will read, “In honour of the sung and unsung heroes and heroines of the homosexual law reform campaign that led to the decriminalisation on July 9, 1986.” Organisers are aware of the many campaigners that fronted the campaign, but are seeking suggestions from the community for some of the more behind-the-scenes activists, without whom the campaign wouldn't have been possible. “I know people worked terribly hard lobbying MPs, helping keep track of the voting numbers, getting signatures on petitions, organising protests, collecting hundreds of names for the huge newspaper advertisement in support of law reform,” among many other things, says Judie Alison, National Secretary of Rainbow Labour. There was such a groundswell of gay and lesbian support for the campaign throughout the mid-80s and the organisers hope to identify and officially recognise many of those in the Wellington region who contributed. While recognising the activists of the 80s, Alison says the event at Premier House will also be an opportunity to reflect on other significant advances for New Zealand's LGBT community, such as ensuring ‘sexual orientation' was included in the Human Rights Act in 1993 and the passage last year of the Civil Union Act. Alison points out that there are many non-legislative things yet to be achieved for the LGBT community in New Zealand, such as ensuring our schools are safer for gay and lesbian youth and the health system is appropriately meeting our needs. Nominations for the sung and unsung heroes and heroines of the homosexual law reform campaign in Wellington in the 80s can be forwarded directly to Alison. She asks that nominators include a sentence or two indicating why they think this person should be included, to enable organisers to identify their contribution to the campaign. Up-to-date contact details for nominees would also be greatly appreciated. Nominations close Friday 16 June 2006 and can be sent to; judie.alison@clear.net.nz. David Parrish - 25th May 2006    
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