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Beyer welcomes news, will withdraw Bill

Tue 22 Aug 2006 In: New Zealand Daily News

4PM: The world's first transgender MP, Georgina Beyer, is welcoming the opinion from New Zealand's acting Solicitor-General, that transgendered people are protected from discrimination under the current human rights laws. The opinion, delivered by the government's Chief Legal Advisor, clarifies the legal situation of transgendered people. “There is currently no reason to suppose that ‘sex discrimination' would be construed narrowly to deprive transgender people of protection under the Human Rights Act,” wrote the acting Solictor-General. Beyer's Human Rights (Gender Identity) Amendment Bill, currently before Parliament, will be withdrawn, following the legal clarification. “Transgendered people do experience discrimination in New Zealand,” says Beyer. “My Bill sought to have transgendered people protected from being kicked out of their houses and jobs just because of their sex, in the same way all other New Zealanders are protected.” “The Solicitor-General is the government's top law officer and his opinion clarifies that transgendered people are already covered by the Human Rights Act, on the grounds of sex. This opinion will achieve the purpose of my Bill. Until now, there was no authority supporting this view, other than a number of comments from an increasing number of lawyers.” “I am pleased that the forthcoming Parliamentary debate on my Bill has helped to bring about this clarification. When the House returns I intend seeking leave to have the Solicitor-General's opinion tabled.” Beyer thanked the Attorney-General, Dr Michael Cullen, and the Prime Minister, Helen Clark, “for their strong support for human rights.” Beyer says all indications were that “the Bill would have had the support of Parliament to be passed were it still necessary.” Beyer says she is certain that the clarification was only possible because of the Labour-led government's commitment to human rights. “Labour Governments always stand for improving the lives of all our people, including those who are a bit different from everyone else. The Government I am proud to be a member of was prepared to support the legislation and to seek the opinion of the Solicitor-General on this issue. Fairness in the workplace, equal treatment under the law – these are important principles for every society, and the Labour-led government is showing its commitment to them,” said Beyer.     Ref: (d)

Credit: News Staff

First published: Tuesday, 22nd August 2006 - 12:00pm

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