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"Inspiring" HLR function but main activist shunned

Sun 6 Mar 2016 In: New Zealand Daily News View at Wayback

The organisers of last night's parliamentary function at which speakers marked the thirtieth anniversary of the passing of the Homosexual Law Reform legislation are hailing the evening as “amazing and awe-inspiring.” (Pic: Michael P Moore) Around three hundred people, including Rainbow Network MPs from a number of political parties, the worlds first transgender MP Georgina Beyer, Fran Wilde who as an MP sponsored the ground-breaking legislation in 1985/86 and mostly Wellington-based gay rights activists and community members attended the four-hour long function. Speakers included Wilde, Beyer, several of those who were active in the fight to decriminalise intimacy between gay and bi men, and younger glbti people who acknowledged the huge achievement of convincing sufficient New Zealanders that legalising homosexual relations was not the threat to society its detractors claimed it would be. “Seeing all the Rainbow MPs from today's Parliament just added to the appreciation of how much things have changed in New Zealand,” says Wellington Pride spokesperson Adrienne Girling. Although he was acknowledged by several speakers, Bill Logan, one of the primary strategists of law reform and it's most visible face during the rancorous national debate, did not speak. Logan had been issued an invitation to speak but the invitation was rescinded after some in the Wellington glbti community objected to his presence after he was censured last year by the Association of Counsellors for what it called "professional misconduct and/or conduct unbecoming a member of NZAC." The incident stemmed from his offering professional counselling to a young man he had had online sexual experience with. Logan was reprimanded by the Association and required to undergo a period of “education and supervision.” “After we invited him we heard that having him speak would be interpreted by some that we condone that situation,” Girling says. Daily News understands the invitation was withdrawn and that after Logan objected the organisers met with him. “We had heard from quite a number of people on both sides of the issue,” Girling says, “but in the end it was a majority decision to withdraw the invitation.” Asked to comment on the preponderance of Wellington people on the speaking list, which did not include any of the prominent HLR activists from the likes of Auckland, Christchurch and Hawkes Bay, Girling says the event was planned primarily as a launch for the Wellington Pride Festival which got underway today. “That's what gave it more of a Wellington focus," she says    

Credit: Daily News staff

First published: Sunday, 6th March 2016 - 8:01pm

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