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Flashback to homosexual law reform

A short audio montage highlighting some of the people and actions during homosexual law reform in Aotearoa New Zealand (1985-1986). A video version is also available.

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  • Go back into the sewers - MP Norman Jones, LAGANZ 0080-B (1985) [Peter Nowland Collection]
  • As citizens of this country we demand our rights - Tighe Instone, LAGANZ 0080-B (ca.1985) [Peter Nowland collection]
  • It is against the law of nature - Patricia Bartlett, LAGANZ 0080-B (ca.1985) [Peter Nowland collection]
  • Salvation Army Band/Gay Rights medley – featuring Linda Evans, LAGANZ 0501-AB (22 September 1985) [Peter Nowland collection]
  • Yes, Jesus was Gay, LAGANZ 0080-B0(ca.1985) [Peter Nowland collection]
  • 835,000 New Zealanders don't want to know about this Bill - MP John Banks, LAGANZ 0234-B (25 March 1986) [Parliamentary broadcast]
  • Audio from a rally in Wellington - featuring Glenda Gale, LAGANZ 0501-AB (13 September 1985) Gay Broadcasting Collective [Peter Nowland collection]
  • This started as a campaign in our interests, but it has become wider - Bill Logan, LAGANZ 0502-A (11 July 1985) [Public meeting, unknown recorder]


This summary details an audio montage documenting critical moments and sentiments during the homosexual law reform movement in Aotearoa New Zealand in the mid-1980s. Recorded on July 9th, 2015, in Wellington, the recording includes contributions from individuals vividly representing different perspectives on the issue, among them Bill Logan, Glenda Gale, John Banks, Linda Evans, Norman Jones, Patricia Bartlett, and Tighe Instone.

The 5-minute recording, held by the Lesbian and Gay Archives of New Zealand (LAGANZ), captures a plethora of views surrounding the contentious debate over the Homosexual Law Reform Act of 1986. Opponents of the law reform, including some vocal community members and politicians, argued that homosexuality was against the laws of nature. Remarkably, there was a fear that legal recognition would not only normalize but also encourage an increase in homosexual behavior, drawing dubious parallels with cities like San Francisco and countries where such reforms had been passed. Critics, wrapped in the mantle of protecting societal values, delivered a doomsday narrative of the potential repercussions on the family unit and society at large. This resistance was typified by the dismissal of a petition signed by 835,000 New Zealanders against the legalizing of sodomy for young adults, which opponents claimed would lead to the destabilization of the family structure.

Conversely, the recording also captures moments of solidarity and support for the reform from unexpected quarters, such as the Salvation Army’s public display of support for a lesbian and gay rights march. This unexpected alliance highlighted the complexity of individual and organizational stances on the reform. While the Salvation Army band provided music to the marchers, the reactions from the organization's members varied, with some still holding strong reservations against lesbian and gay rights despite the ostensible show of support.

Amidst the contrasting views and political turmoil, the LGBTQ+ community’s resolve shines through. The recording details significant lesbian and gay rights demonstrations, including a nearly 10,000-strong march through Wellington's streets. The march served not just as an assertion for homosexual rights but also as a broader fight for an open and liberal society. The sentiments expressed show the community's demand for visibility and respect as legitimate New Zealand citizens, as well as their ambition to move beyond campaigning for individual interests towards shaping a more inclusive political landscape.

This summary is created using Generative AI. Although it is based on the recording's transcription, it may contain errors or omissions. Click here to learn more about how this summary was created.

Record date:9th July 2015
Audio courtesy of:Lesbian and Gay Archives of New Zealand (LAGANZ)
Location:Wellington, Aotearoa New Zealand
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