Historical Events - Political

1861The United Kingdom's death penalty for buggery is abolished (United Kingdom)
However, male homosexual acts still remain illegal and are punishable by imprisonment.
Links: Wikipedia
17 Jul 1867Hon Major Richardson introduces the Offences Against the Person Bill (1867) (New Zealand)
The Bill states that a person convicted of sodomy can be imprisoned for life and anyone convicted of attempted buggery or an indecent assault on a male can serve up to ten years imprisonment (Offences Against the Person Act 1867 / Unnatural Offences, 58-60).
Links: Early NZ Statutes, Hansard
10 Oct 1867The Offences Against the Person Act (1867) is enacted (New Zealand)
The Act says that a person convicted of sodomy can be imprisoned for life and anyone convicted of attempted buggery or an indecent assault on a male can serve up to ten years imprisonment (refer Unnatural Offences, 58-60).
Links: Early NZ Statutes, Hansard
1885The buggery law in the United Kingdom is extended to include any kind of sexual activity between males (United Kingdom)
(Criminal Law Amendment Act 1885)
Links: Wikipedia
19 Sep 1893New Zealand becomes the first country in the world to grant women the right to vote in parliamentary elections (New Zealand)
Links: NZ History, Papers Past
6 Oct 1893The Criminal Code Act 1893 is enacted (New Zealand)
The Act outlaws any sexual activity between men (even if it's consensual). Penalties include life imprisonment, hard labour and flogging (refer Crimes Against Morality, 136-139).
Links: Early New Zealand Statutes
4 Aug 1908The Crimes Act 1908 is enacted (New Zealand)
Section 153-154 (p.598) states that everyone is liable to life imprisonment with hard labour if convicted of buggery, and upto ten-years imprisonment with hard labour for a male convicted of indecently assaulting another male.
Links: Early New Zealand Statutes
1 Sep 1916A Bill is introduced to allow females to wear male clothing and take a male first name (Melbourne, Australia)
The Colonist newspaper reports the move as "freak legislation in Victoria".
Links: Papers Past
Feb 1933The Nazi Party launches a purge of gay clubs, publications and groups (Germany)
Links: Wikipedia
1941Flogging is removed as a punishment for homosexual acts (New Zealand)
The punishment is removed from Section 137 of the Offences Against the Person Act 1867 (Unnatural Offences). In 1954 the punishment of hard labour is also removed.
Links: Australasian Legal Information Institute, Early New Zealand Statutes
1954Hard labour is removed as a punishment for homosexual acts (New Zealand)
The punishment is removed from Section 137 (Unnatural Offences) of the Offences Against the Person Act 1867.
Links: Australasian Legal Information Institute, Early New Zealand Statutes
15 Sep 1954A committee chaired by Lord Wolfenden begins looking into homosexual offences and prostitution (United Kingdom)
The resulting report is published in 1957.
Links: Wikipedia
4 Sep 1957The Wolfenden report is published (United Kingdom)
One of the recommendations in the report was that "homosexual behaviour between consenting adults in private should no longer be a criminal offence."
Links: Wikipedia
1959The Attorney-General H.G.R. Mason tries unsuccessfully to have the penalties for homosexual acts reduced (New Zealand)
Links: Queer History NZ, Wikipedia
28 Jul 1967The Sexual Offences Act 1967 decriminalises homosexual acts in England and Wales (United Kingdom)
The age of consent is set at 21.
8 Oct 1968A petition signed by 75 prominent New Zealanders calling for homosexual law reform is presented to parliament (New Zealand)
The petition is presented to parliament by Labour MP A.H. Nordmeyer on behalf of the New Zealand Homosexual Law Reform Society.
8 Nov 1968Parliament's Petitions Committee reports back on the Homosexual Law Reform petition (New Zealand)
Links: Hansard
28 Jul 1970The National Party's annual conference decides to seek liberalisation on the law relating to homosexuality (New Zealand)
The decision was applauded by the Homosexual Law Reform Society - as noted in an Evening Post article on 28 July.
Links: Nga Taonga Sound & Vision
25 May 1971The Labour Party annual conference votes favour of homosexual law reform (New Zealand)
The conference voted in favour of homosexual acts between consenting males in private be legalised. The vote was so close that a count had to be taken.
5 Aug 1971The Evening Post reports that the National government will not reform the law relating to homosexuality (New Zealand)
Links: Nga Taonga Sound & Vision
9 Jul 1974Labour Prime Minister Norman Kirk opposes the Crimes Amendment Bill (New Zealand)
Kirk is quoted as saying homosexuality is "unnatural".
Links: Nga Taonga Sound & Vision
24 Jul 1974National MP Venn Young introduces the Crimes Amendment Bill 1974 (New Zealand)
The Bill is the first parliamentary attempt at homosexual law reform in New Zealand. The age of consent is set at 21.
Links: Hansard, NZ Legal Information Institute
1975Labour MP Gerald Wall moves an amendment to the Crimes Amendment Bill (New Zealand)
The amendment proposes that any communication to people under 20 that homosexuality is normal is punishable by two years imprisonment.
Links: Hansard
2 May 1975A Parliamentary Select Committee reports back on the Crimes Amendment Bill (New Zealand)
The Committee recommends the age of consent be reduced from 21 to 20.
21 May 1975Parliament votes to have the Privileges Committee investigate Carmen Rupe's claim that there are gay and bisexual Members of Parliament (New Zealand)
Links: Hansard
4 Jul 1975The Crimes Amendment Bill 1974 is defeated 34 votes to 29 (with 23 abstentions) (New Zealand)
Links: PrideNZ.com, Hansard (1), Hansard (2)
Nov 1975Robin Duff stands in the General Election as an openly gay candidate for the Values party (Christchurch, New Zealand)
7 Nov 1976National Prime Minister Robert Muldoon accuses Colin Moyle of having been picked up for homosexual practices (New Zealand)
1977Labour MP Colin Moyle resigns from Parliament (New Zealand)
Moyle resigns after it is made public by Prime Minister Robert Muldoon that he had been questioned by the police on suspicion of homosexual activities.
Jan 1977The Campaign to Oppose Persecution begins (Wellington, New Zealand)
The campaign was in response to scandals involving allegations of homosexuality against Members of Parliament.
Feb 1977Gay Liberation pickets the Labour Party conference for failing to defend MP Colin Moyle (New Zealand)
May 1977Lesbians picket Parliament for the repeal of abortion laws (Wellington, New Zealand)
Jul 1977Parliament refuses to include sexual orientation in the new Human Rights Commission Act (New Zealand)
Currently there is no protection against discrimination in work and living situations.
Nov 1978Robin Duff and Sandy Gauntlett stand in the General Election (New Zealand)
They are both openly gay candidates for the Values Party.
1979Labour MP Warren Freer introduces a Crimes Amendment Bill to decriminalise homosexual acts (New Zealand)
The Bill has a proposed age of consent of 20.
1980Labour MP Warren Freer again proposes homosexual law reform (New Zealand)
20 Mar 1980The Lesbian Mothers Defence Fund present a submission to the Select Committee considering the Guardianship Amendment Bill (New Zealand)
Jun 1980The Warren Freer Bill is abandoned due to lack of support (New Zealand)
Jul 1980Mayor Michael Fowler stops a lesbian community notice being displayed on Wellington City Council buses (Wellington, New Zealand)
Fowler objects to the notice that invites lesbians to "contact your local community".
Sep 1980Chief Human Rights Commissioner Pat Downey rejects National Gay Rights Coalition submissions (New Zealand)
Downey says discrimination is justified in some circumstances.
22 May 1984The New South Wales government votes to decriminalise male homosexual acts (New South Wales, Australia)
The age of consent is set at 18 (it is 16 for heterosexual and lesbian couples). The law is enacted on 8 June 1984.
Links: Wikipedia
8 Jun 1984Male homosexual activity becomes legal in New South Wales (New South Wales, Australia)
The age of consent is set at 18 (it is 16 for heterosexual and lesbian couples).
Links: Wikipedia
7 Jul 1984MP Fran Wilde meets with members of the gay community to discuss law reform options (Wellington, New Zealand)
Links: LAGANZ
Aug 1984A survey indicates that the new Parliament may be more supportive of homosexual law reform (New Zealand)
The survey is conducted by the Pink Triangle magazine. 15 of the new 23 MPs support both decriminalisation and human rights legislation.
Links: LAGANZ
8 Mar 1985Labour MP Fran Wilde introduces the Homosexual Law Reform Bill in Parliament (New Zealand)
The Bill passes its first reading 51 to 24 votes.
Links: PrideNZ.com, Wikipedia, LAGANZ
14 Mar 1985MPs Geoff Braybrooke, Graeme Lee, Norman Jones and Alan Wallbank launch the anti-homosexual law reform petition (New Zealand)
Links: LAGANZ
27 Mar 1985The anti-homosexual law reform petition is circulated in some schools (New Zealand)
Links: Nga Taonga
26 Apr 1985Public submissions close on the Homosexual Law Reform Bill (New Zealand)
22 May 1985The Human Rights Commission comes out in support of the Homosexual Law Reform Bill (New Zealand)
2 Oct 1985The Select Committee investigating the Homosexual Law Reform Bill votes to end public hearings (New Zealand)
The Committee ends public hearings despite 85 people still waiting to be heard.
9 Oct 1985The second reading of the Homosexual Law Reform Bill begins in Parliament (New Zealand)
The second reading will take four weeks.
Links: PrideNZ.com, LAGANZ
16 Oct 1985The second reading of the Homosexual Law Reform Bill continues in Parliament (New Zealand)
Links: PrideNZ.com
23 Oct 1985The second reading of the Homosexual Law Reform Bill continues in Parliament (New Zealand)
Links: PrideNZ.com
5 Nov 1985Parliament debates the petition against the Homosexual Law Reform Bill (New Zealand)
Links: PrideNZ.com
6 Nov 1985The second reading of the Homosexual Law Reform Bill continues in Parliament (New Zealand)
Links: PrideNZ.com
20 Nov 1985The Committee of the Whole House (Parliament) considers the Homosexual Law Reform Bill (New Zealand)
Links: PrideNZ.com
5 Mar 1986The Committee of the Whole House (Parliament) continues to consider the Homosexual Law Reform Bill (New Zealand)
Links: PrideNZ.com
25 Mar 1986The Committee of the Whole House (Parliament) continues to consider the Homosexual Law Reform Bill (New Zealand)
Links: PrideNZ.com
2 Apr 1986The Committee of the Whole House (Parliament) continues to consider the Homosexual Law Reform Bill (New Zealand)
Links: PrideNZ.com
9 Apr 1986The Committee of the Whole House (Parliament) continues to consider the Homosexual Law Reform Bill (New Zealand)
16 Apr 1986Part 2 of the Homosexual Law Reform is voted down in Parliament (New Zealand)
Part 2 of the Bill contained anti-discrimination measures.
Links: PrideNZ.com
9 Jul 1986Part 1 of the Homosexual Law Reform Bill is narrowly passed by Parliament, 49 votes to 44 (New Zealand)
Part 2 of the Bill dealing with anti-discrimination measures was lost on 16 April 1986.
Links: Wikipedia
11 Jul 1986The Homosexual Law Reform Act (1986) is signed into law by the Governor General (New Zealand)
Links: LAGANZ, Queer History
8 Aug 1986The Homosexual Law Reform Act (1986) is enacted (New Zealand)
Links: LAGANZ, Queer History
Jul 1987Trevor Barnard stands as an openly gay candidate for the NZ Democratic party in Eastern Hutt (Lower Hutt, New Zealand)
1989The Crimes Act incorporates Homosexual Law Reform Act amendments (New Zealand)
20 May 1990A will making workshop for lesbians is held (Wellington, New Zealand)
28 Jul 1993The Human Rights Bill is passed (New Zealand)
Among other things, the Bill outlaws discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation. The Government is exempt until 31 December 1999.
23 Dec 1993MP Chris Carter (Te Atatu, Labour Party) comes out publicly (New Zealand)
Carter becomes the first openly gay Member of Parliament in New Zealand.
Links: Queer History NZ, Wikipedia
1 Feb 1994The Human Rights Act 1993 is enacted (New Zealand)
The Act outlaws discrimination on a wide variety of grounds including sexual orientation and disability. The Act also provides protection against discrimination for those living with HIV/AIDS.
Links: Wikipedia, New Zealand Legislation, NZ.com
16 Mar 1994MP Chris Carter (Te Atatu, Labour Party) gives his maiden speech in Parliament (New Zealand)
Carter is the first openly gay Member of Parliament in New Zealand.
Links: Wikipedia
Dec 1994The High Court rules that post-operative transsexuals can marry in their adopted sex (New Zealand)
21 Oct 1995Georgina Beyer is elected Mayor of Carterton (Carterton, New Zealand)
Beyer becomes the world's first openly transexual mayor.
Links: Wikipedia
Jan 1996Labour MP Judith Tizard proposes legalising same-sex marriage (New Zealand)
24 Apr 1996The High Court hears an application by three lesbian couples seeking a ruling on the legality of their marriage applications (New Zealand)
30 May 1996The High Court rules that marriage in common law means between a man and woman (New Zealand)
12 Oct 1996MP Chris Carter (Te Atatu, Labour Party) is defeated in the first MMP General Election (Auckland region, New Zealand)
Carter was New Zealalnd's first openly gay Member of Parliament. He returned to Parliament in 1999.
Links: Wikipedia
12 Oct 1996Tim Barnett (Christchurch Central, Labour Party) is elected in the first MMP General Election (Christchurch, New Zealand)
Barnett, who is openly gay, would subsequently introduce the Prostitution Reform Bill (2003) and was heavily involved in the passing of the Civil Union Bill (2004).
Links: Wikipedia, Parliament
1997The Government stops funding Consistency 2000 - the Human Rights Commission's investigation into discriminatory legislation (New Zealand)
27 Feb 1997Labour MP Tim Barnett gives his maiden speech in Parliament (New Zealand)
Links: Parliament
Mar 1997Branches of the Gay and Lesbian Labour Party are formed by Tim Barnett and Chris Carter in Auckland and Christchurch (New Zealand)
17 Dec 1997The Court of Appeal turns down three lesbian couples' appeal against a High Court ruling against same-sex marriage (New Zealand)
May 1998The Government announces a Human Rights Amendment that will prolong the Government's exemption from the Human Rights Commission Act indefinitely (New Zealand)
Jul 1998Camp Mother (a.k.a. Lynda Topp) announces that she will run for Mayor of Auckland (Auckland, New Zealand)
Topp decides to run against Les Mills who was against the HERO festival. She withdraws two weeks before the election
Jul 1998The Defacto Property Bill is introduced (New Zealand)
It aims to standardise disposal of property on death or separation of unmarried couples (but not same-sex ones)
Jul 1998The Labour Relations Bill is introduced, granting same-sex partners leave for partners' sickness (New Zealand)
5 Aug 1998Hamilton District Court rules a lesbian is liable for maintenance of a child born to her ex-partner during their relationship (Hamilton, New Zealand)
There are no corresponding custody rights
19 Aug 1998National Government introduces a Human Rights Amendment saying it will bring Government into line with HRC Act (with some exceptions) (New Zealand)
26 Nov 1998The Government's Human Rights Amendment Bill is defeated (New Zealand)
2000The Property (Relationships) Act 2000 becomes law
The Act gives de facto couples, whether opposite or same sex, the same property rights on the break-up of a relationship
21 Sep 2000The Prostitution Reform Bill is introduced into Parliament by Labour MP Tim Barnett (New Zealand)
8 Nov 2000The first reading of the Prostitution Reform Bill takes place (New Zealand)
Links: Parliament
16 Oct 2002Uzi Even becomes the first openly homosexual man in Israel's parliament.
Links: Wikipedia, Gay NZ
29 Nov 2002The Select Committee reports back on the Prostitution Reform Bill (New Zealand)
Links: Parliament
19 Feb 2003The second reading of the Prostitution Reform Bill takes place (New Zealand)
Links: Parliament
25 Jun 2003The Prostitution Reform (Bill 2003) is read a third time, voted on and passed (New Zealand)
The Bill was introduced into Parliament by Tim Barnett (Christchurch Central, Labour Party). It passes its third reading 60-59.
Links: Handsard, Parliament
27 Jun 2003The Prostitution Reform Act (2003) is enacted (New Zealand)
Links: Parliament
21 Oct 2004MP Georgina Beyer introduces the Human Rights (Gender Identity) Amendment Bill in Parliament (New Zealand)
The Bill offers specific protection from discrimination on the grounds of gender identity. Beyer later withdraws the Bill in August 2006 following an opinion from Crown Law saying that transgender people are already protected under the existing human rights legislation of New Zealand.
Links: Parliament, NZ Herald
1 Dec 2004The Civil Union Bill 2004 passes its second reading in Parliament (New Zealand)
9 Dec 2004The Civil Union Act is passed
The Act gives same-sex couples an equivalent to marriage
16 Nov 2005MP Maryan Street makes her maiden speech in Parliament (New Zealand)
Street is New Zealand's first openly out lesbian elected to Parliament (Marilyn Waring was outed by the Truth newspaper in August 1976).
Links: Hansard
2 Aug 2006Crown Law releases an opinion saying that transgender people are already protected under the existing human rights legislation of New Zealand (New Zealand)
MP Georgina Beyer had introduced the Human Rights (Gender Identity) Amendment Bill in 2004 which would have offered specific protection from discrimination on the grounds of gender identity. However, Crown Law felt that transgender people could make complaints about discrimination under the ground of 'sex'. The legal opinion was also backed by the Human Rights Commission.
Links: Hansard, Human Rights Commission
23 Aug 2006MP Georgina Beyer withdraws the Human Rights (Gender Identity) Amendment Bill from Parliament (New Zealand)
The Bill offered specific protection from discrimination on the grounds of gender identity. Beyer withdrew the Bill before its first reading following an opinion from Crown Law saying that transgender people are already protected under the existing human rights legislation of New Zealand.
Links: Hansard, Parliament
4 Aug 2009The Crimes (Provocation Repeal) Amendment Bill is introduced in Parliament (New Zealand)
The Bill is introduced by the Minister for Justice, National MP Simon Power.
Links: Parliament
18 Aug 2009The first reading of the Crimes (Provocation Repeal) Amendment Bill takes place in Parliament (New Zealand)
Links: Parliament
19 Oct 2009The Crimes (Provocation Repeal) Amendment Bill is considered by a Select Committee (New Zealand)
Links: Parliament
24 Nov 2009The second and third readings of the Crimes (Provocation Repeal) Amendment Bill takes place in Parliament (New Zealand)
The removal of the provocation defence - also known as the gay panic defence (Section 169 of the Crimes Act 1961) was in part due to a public outcry when it was used in a heterosexual context by Clayton Weatherston. He claimed he was provoked into stabbing his ex-girlfriend 216 times. He was eventually convicted of her murder. Parliament completes the Second Reading, Committee of the Whole House and Third Reading of the Bill in one sitting day.
Links: Parliament, NZ Herald, GayNZ.com
15 Feb 2012Green MP Jan Logie makes her maiden speech in Parliament
Logie describes herself as a "leftie, feminist lesbian"
29 Aug 2012The first reading of the Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Bill takes place in Parliament (New Zealand)
Links: PrideNZ.com
30 Nov 2012Former MP Katherine O'Regan apologies for not including transgender people in the anti-discrimination measures of the Human Rights Act 1993 (Wellington, New Zealand)
Links: PrideNZ.com
13 Mar 2013The second reading of the Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Bill takes place in Parliament (New Zealand)
Links: PrideNZ.com
27 Mar 2013The Committee of the Whole House (Parliament) debates the Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Bill (New Zealand)
MP Jacinda Ardern notes that her great uncle was imprisoned in 1948 for three years as the result of his sexuality.
Links: PrideNZ.com
17 Apr 2013The third reading of the Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Bill takes place in Parliament (New Zealand)
The Bill passes its third and final reading: 77 ayes / 44 noes.
Links: PrideNZ.com
19 Aug 2013The Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Act 2013 is enacted (New Zealand)
Links: Wikipedia
10 Sep 2013David Cunliffe stands down a campaign worker during his bid for the Labour Party leadership. (New Zealand)
Jennie Michie is quoted as remarking earlier "It would be naive to imagine that there would be no resistance to a gay prime minister at this point".
Links: Gay NZ
19 Oct 2013The Government announces it will send a diplomat to watch over New Zealanders attending the upcoming Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. (New Zealand)
Various Members of Parliament had requested the government help protect rainbow people at the games from discrimination and harassment.
Links: Gay NZ
19 Feb 2014The second reading of the Sullivan Birth Certificate Bill takes place in Parliament (New Zealand)
Links: PrideNZ.com
9 Apr 2014The third reading of the Sullivan Birth Certificate Bill takes place in Parliament (New Zealand)
The Bill passed its third reading unanimously.
Links: PrideNZ.com
6 Jul 2017Parliament apologies for the hurt and stigma caused by the historic criminalisation of consensual homosexual activity (New Zealand)
During the first reading of the Criminal Records (Expungement of Convictions for Historical Homosexual Offences) Bill, Justice Minister Amy Adams read the following apology "Today we are putting on the record that this house deeply regrets the hurt and stigma suffered by the many hundreds of New Zealand men who were turned into criminals by a law that was profoundly wrong, and for that, we are sorry."
Links: PrideNZ.com, Parliament.nz
6 Jul 2017The first reading of the Criminal Records (Expungement of Convictions for Historical Homosexual Offences) Bill takes place in Parliament (New Zealand)
The Bill unanimously passes its first reading.
Links: PrideNZ.com, Parliament.nz
9 Jul 2017In a radio interview National MP Chester Borrows says he has changed his mind on same-sex marriage (New Zealand)
The departing Member of Parliament talks about how, after voting against Marriage Equality, now supports it. As celebrant he has married a gay couple
Links: RNZ
23 Sep 2017The General Election sees at least seven rainbow politicians in Parliament (New Zealand)
Louisa Wall, Grant Robertson, Meka Whaitiri, Tamati Coffee and Kiritapu Allan (Labour Party); Jan Logie (Green Party) and Chris Finlayson (National Party)
Links: Gay Express
27 Mar 2018The second reading of the Criminal Records (Expungement of Convictions for Historical Homosexual Offences) Bill takes place in Parliament (New Zealand)
The Bill unanimously passes its second reading.
Links: PrideNZ.com, Parliament.nz
28 Mar 2018The Committee of the whole House (Parliament) considers the Criminal Records (Expungement of Convictions for Historical Homosexual Offences) Bill (New Zealand)
The Bill is reported back to the House without amendment. The report is then unanimously adopted.
Links: PrideNZ.com, Parliament.nz
3 Apr 2018The third reading of the Criminal Records (Expungement of Convictions for Historical Homosexual Offences) Bill takes place in Parliament (New Zealand)
The Bill unanimously passes its third reading.
Links: Parliament.nz
10 Apr 2018The Criminal Records (Expungement of Convictions for Historical Homosexual Offences) Act 2018 is enacted (New Zealand)
Links: Parliament.nz, Ministry of Justice
25 Feb 2019Minister for Internal Affairs Tracey Martin defers the Births, Deaths, Marriages and Relationships Bill (New Zealand)
The Minister wanted to give people more opportunities to submit on the proposed changes as well as seek clarification on legal issues relating to gender self-identification.
Links: NZ Herald