3 July 1975, New Zealand Parliament
Note: some inaccuracies may have occurred in this automatic OCR version of the printed Hansard. Please always refer back to the digitised original.
Mr V. S. YOUNG (Egmont)—I move, That this Bill be now read a second time. Approximately 12 months have gone by since I introduced the Crimes Amendment Bill to this House. No one can say that the measure has not had due consideration. One hundred and fifty submissions have been made to the select committee set up specially to study the measure, which in many ways does little more than legalise what is at present in practice. Some of those who argue against a change in the law say, “Why change it if there are few people in prison today for taking part, as consenting adult males, in homosexual acts in private?” However, one would be unrealistic to suggest that the public debate on my amending Bill has not aroused considerable emotion. That in itself is neither unexpected nor undesirable. In this Chamber of legislators we are required to look at the law dispassionately to see that it operates fully and in a humanitarian way, and to see that it operates for the protection of society, particularly the young, the weak, and the dependent. I believe that my Bill meets these requirements, and at the same time corrects a law that is retrogressive. If the Bill is passed it will not be a case of New Zealand leading the world in social reform, as it has done on many occasions in the past, but it will mean the rewriting of New Zealand's laws on homosexual acts to bring them into line with the law in most other English-speaking countries which inherited the original crimes statute from Westminster. I want to take this opportunity of complimenting the chairman of the select committee which studied the measure, and members of the committee, for the understanding manner in which they considered it. I want also to record that almost all of the submissions that came from people who have to face the problems of the homosexual were in favour of my measure. It is true that other groups that made submissions to the committee at that time have subsequently criticised the Bill for not going far enough. However, the Bill does amend the law in a way that is both practical and humanitarian. There has been no substantial evidence to suggest that standards of morality or behaviour have been diminished in those countries where the law has been changed. Not stated in the measure, but implicit in my desire for reform, is a more positive role being adopted by the State in giving assistance to homosexuals who seek counselling. At present this is haphazard to say the least, and the very presence of the law I am seeking to amend deters many people, who would otherwise seek assistance, from doing so. I emphasise that the amendments to the Bill approved by the select committee, though they appear substantial, merely rewrite the measure in a manner considered by the Department of Justice to be better draftsmanship, but include the relatively minor amendments that were suggested by the committee. Apart from the amendment proposed by the member for Porirua, which I shall deal with later, certain exceptions were sought —and they will be provided for in the Committee stage—that will result in the Bill not applying to the armed forces or to police barracks. These amendments were sought by the appropriate departments and do not undermine or diminish the underlying principle or intention of my measure. The reasons for the repeal of sections 141 and 142 of the Crimes Act are: (1) Such a move will reduce human suffering and create better public understanding of the problems of a minority who live within our midst. (2) The present law is illogical. It discriminates against men, while adult women do not face conviction. (3) The law is not enforced, and indeed is impossible to enforce unless the police seek entry to private premises for some other reason. (4) It is not a function of the law to establish moral standards. On the contrary, if these are enforced only by fear, then the law is harmful. (5) The penalties at present provided in the Act are a greater evil than the so-called evil that the Act is designed to prevent. (6) The existence of criminal sanctions discourages homosexuals who, but for these, might seek counselling from a doctor, psychiatrist, or some other qualified person. (7) The repeal of the law would allow the State to take a positive role in ensuring that counselling services were available where they were needed. Apart from those who made submissions to the select committee in favour of the Bill, there are others whose support I acknowledge and appreciate. The Prime Minister has stated publicly that he supports the provisions of my Bill, and I appreciate his support. The Leader of the Opposition is in favour of my Bill. Indeed, outside the House, the leader of the Social Credit Party is in favour of my Bill. Two Labour Party conferences supported the provisions contained in the measure, and the National Party conference has twice decided similarly. At the last National Party conference, delegates voted almost two to one in favour of amending the law at a time when the Bill we are now debating had already been presented to Parliament. Pierre Trudeau in Canada proposed similar legislation for his country, and in the Federal Parliament of Australia, John Gorton, the former Prime Minister, moved that the law in the Australian Capital Territory be reformed along similar lines to those I am advocating in the Crimes Amendment Bill. I shall now give a brief summary of the clauses in the Bill. Clause 2 obviously is the one on which there has been the greatest contention. This clause rewrites section 3 of the Bill introduced last year which provided that homosexual acts in private, between consenting male adults 21 years and over, should no longer be a criminal offence. The major amendment resulting from the select committee deliberations was that the age of consent be reduced to 20 years in these circumstances. The clause is rewritten in a manner which complies better with the accepted forms of law drafting. Clauses 3, 5A and 7 remove acknowledged weaknesses in the present statute regarding procuring, brothel keeping, and prostitution. If passed, these provisions will ensure that the law applies equally to male prostitution as to female prostitution. Clause 7A was included to meet the request of the Ministry of Defence and the Police Department that the amending Bill not apply to the armed forces or to police barracks. I am sure, however, that this exception is sought only for clause 2. Clause 8A makes a minor amendment to the previous clause 8, which referred to past offences. The 1957 Wolfenden report in the United Kingdom sparked off what lawyers know as the Hart-Devlin debate. Lord Devlin, the great English judge, said that law should reinforce morality, and some who oppose my Bill use this as their main argument. Professor Hart said that law and morality are two totally different things. Hart's view has been more widely accepted, and was adopted when the law on homosexual acts was reformed in the United Kingdom in 1967. More importantly, even Lord Devlin publicly admitted that as a practical matter the law against homosexuality did not work and should be rewritten. Almost all the submissions made to the select committee by individuals or organisations that have to face the problems of the homosexual, or who help the homosexual person come to terms with his or her condition, gave evidence in support of a change in the law. These included evidence from the New Zealand Social Workers Association, the Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists, probation officers, lawyers, clergymen, youth counsellors, the New Zealand Homosexual Law Reform Society, the New Zealand Police Association Officers Guild, the New Zealand Student Christian movement, Quakers, the New Zealand Sociological Association, the New Zealand Psychological Association, and the New Zealand Probation Officers Association. The Methodist Church supports a change in the law. Submissions were given on behalf of the Presbyterian Church in favour of a change. The public questions committee of the general synod of the Anglican Church favours my Bill. Not every church adopts this position. The Roman Catholic Church, together with several others, is opposed to change. There is, however, a division of opinion both within and between churches. During the sittings of the select committee on the Bill I asked the group of churches which gave evidence on the same morning, and which opposed the Bill this very simple but very important question: “If the law I am trying to have removed were not already on the statute book, which of you would be campaigning to have it placed there?” The only group that said it would seek this was the evangelical section of the Anglican Church, whose public questions committee supported the measure under consideration. Father McCormick of the Roman Catholic Social Services, who presented submissions on behalf of Archbishop Delargey, stated in a very full session of questions and replies that homosexual acts should be regarded as social offences rather than criminal offences. The Vicar-General of the Roman Catholic Church stated subsequently that he thought the law should be the same for female homosexuals as it was for male homosexuals. Let me put a similar question to those members of this House who are known to oppose the reform in this Bill. Which of them condones lesbian acts? If the answer is not one, as I expect it would be, then if this measure is not carried I shall await the presentation by one of them of a Bill making lesbian acts illegal, because surely one cannot differentiate between male and female. The Crimes Amendment Bill will not make homosexual acts socially acceptable. It will not open the floodgate to thousands of latent homosexuals who are awaiting a change in the law. What it will do, however, is develop a greater understanding by the community of a small sector which is within our midst whether we like it or not. We know that laws directed only at male adult homosexuals are inefficient and are not implemented. Changing the law is important not only because of the law's contribution to discrimination, but also because of its indirect effect on the community's understanding of homosexuality. Homosexual behaviour between consenting male adults is at present a criminal offence, despite the absence of evidence that such behaviour is harmful to the persons involved or to society in general. The effect of current legislation on the homosexual is to surround a part of his self-identification with feelings of guilt and shame. Nowhere do we find the law affecting the homosexual’s adjustment in any positive way. Such phenomena as sex in public rest rooms, the anonymity of homosexual relationships, the ghettoisation of the homosexual community, are all partly rooted in this criminalisation under the law. It should be obvious that the present law is powerless to prevent homosexuality, and in its feeble attempts to do so it serves only to inflict unnecessary suffering and to bring the law, and those whose duty it is to enforce it, into disrepute. In a declaration on morality and the law on another controversial public issue, the Vatican stated: “The preservation of a law which is not applied is always to the detriment of authority and of all the other laws.” That surely applies to the provisions of the Crimes Act that I seek to amend. Punishing a male homosexual by putting him in an all-male prison also serves no good purpose, yet that is what the present law provides for. However, we are informed that the law is not practised, and some say that the law therefore should not be changed. But to change the law does not change moral values. You can say, “From tomorrow it will be illegal to do X”, but not “From tomorrow it will be immoral to do X.” Morals do not work like that, while laws can and will be changed overnight. Why should people who are against reforming the law say that it means “From tomorow it will be moral to do X”, when it means only “From tomorrow it will be legal to do X”? What must be decided is whether the liberty of the individual is compatible with criminal sanctions on immoral acts in private which involve no one but the persons concerned. The State can punish a public offence because it may harm, frighten, upset, or offend others, but if people choose to do these things in private, are we to make criminals of them? I am convinced that the law itself makes very little difference to the amount of homosexual behaviour that actually occurs. Whatever the law may be, there will always be strong social forces opposed to homosexual behaviour. In the more than 100 years between John Stuart Mill's essay On Liberty, in 1859, and the report of the Wolfenden committee in 1954, there has been a strong tradition that the criminal law should not punish conduct simply because it offends against the accepted moral code. The conduct punishable should be either directly harmful to individuals or to their liberty, or it should jeopardise the collective interest society has in maintaining its organisation. Maintaining a code of morals is not the province of law but should be left to the churches, or education, or to the outcome of free discussion among people. John Stuart Mill said, “The only purpose for which power can rightfully be exercised over any member of a civilised society against his will is to prevent harm to others.” Why then is it that our law maintains that homosexual acts performed in private by consenting adult males are harmful, but never that harm results from such acts by consenting females? The American Law Institute's model penal code describes the law in these words: “The protection to which every individual is entitled is against State interference in his personal affairs when he is not hurting others, and repudiates the idea that the criminal law may be used to enforce on adults a code of sexual behaviour to govern what they do in private.” The Wolfenden report drew the important distinction between the immorality of a practice and the offensive injurious nature of the practice in public. The law can and should punish the latter; it relates to public indecency, but not private immorality. The report stated: “The function of the criminal law is to preserve public order and decency, to protect the citizen from what is offensive or injurious, and to provide sufficient safeguards against the exploitation or corruption of others.” It also stated, “There must remain the realm of private morality and immorality, which is not the law's business.” Parliament is not being asked to pass judgment on the rightness or wrongness of human sexual behaviour in this instance, but to remove legislation that was born of an ignorance of knowledge that is available today. It is being asked to reform the law as has been done in the United Kingdom. Reform of the law in that nation did not lead to a decline in social standards, nor to a vast increase in homosexuality. All but a small percentage of the population is, after all, heterosexual and intends remaining so. I suggest that fears of the negative consequences of repealing the law are supported by neither logic nor evidence. I also suggest that the burden of proof of detrimental consequences resulting from a change in the law should be on the shoulders of those who continue to insist that the law should not be changed. On their own admission the law is not implemented and is impossible to implement; yet they say it should remain on the statute book. May I at this stage comment on the proposed amendment, notice of which has been given to me, to members of the House, and to the public. The member for Porirua proposes to move it if the Bill reaches the Committee stage. Let me say at the outset that I appreciate the support of the member for the principles contained in the main clause of my Bill. During the debate on the introduction of the Bill the member for Porirua made it clear that he was concerned at what he described as the proselytisation of sex, a term which no doubt has a wide definition and means different things to different people. The select committee considered a number of proposals put to it by the member that would have had the Bill amended at that stage, but the committee was unable to accept them. The member has now given notice that at the appropriate stage he will move an amendment which has been well publicised and which I believe is an unnecessary restriction on the basic human rights of freedom of speech and freedom of association. The member says his amendment is being promoted in good faith and for the protection of the young, and I accept that; but I believe there are adequate safeguards in the present legislation. Section 66 of the Crimes Act provides the protection that I believe he seeks. It states: “Everyone is a party to and is guilty of an offence who amongst other things incites, counsels, or procures any person to commit an offence.” That applies to men, where that person is under the age of 20 years. Furthermore, sections 21 and 22 of the Indecent Publications Act give the protection the member for Porirua seeks regarding the dissemination of the written material he considers would be offensive or injurious in the hands of people under 20. What is difficult to understand is that the member limits those who could suggest, even in a counselling situation, that homosexual behaviour is not abnormal in certain circumstances. He limits those who could make that statement to ministers of religion and doctors of medicine, regardless of their qualifications.
Mr SPEAKER—Order! I realise that this is a private member's Bill, and our rules of debate do provide that on a second reading a member may refer to an amendment that is to be introduced in the Committee stage. But he cannot actually debate the amendment as such. I hope that members who refer to it will do just that, and refrain from breaking the rules by debating it.
Mr V. S. YOUNG—Thank you, Mr Speaker. I thought it proper that I should make those comments. However, let me say in conclusion that I regret I can only agree with those who described the member's amendment as reactionary, Victorian, and out of harmony with the intentions of my Bill. Society has a right to express its preference for heterosexuality, and that right my wife and I affirm, like the vast majority of New Zealanders. But I submit that society, in terms of criminal justice and social justice, does not have a right to turn that preference into prejudice, and at times into persecution of those who, by deep-set inclination or by hereditary factors, are unable to express affection for people of the opposite sex. The time has long since passed when the law should be changed, and New Zealand should follow the lead of the major countries of the Western World in changing it. The change in those countries has not wrought havoc in the relationships between men and women, nor has it reduced the desire of young men and young women to follow their natural sexual inclinations. I am confident that the same will be true when the law is changed in New Zealand. Almost without exception the major groups in society, the police, the Departmenet of Justice, legal, medical and psychological societies, as well as the concerned voluntary associations who have studied the matter in depth, advocate a change in the law, and they support almost entirely the measure I am promoting. There are times and countries where humanity becomes lost in laws inherited from the past. I believe that equity, compassion, and logic each demand that parliaments alter such laws.
Dr BASSETT (Waitemata)—I support the Bill in the form in which it was reported back from the select committee early in May. I commend the member for Egmont for introducing the Bill, and for his very fair rendition of what went on in the select committee. The surprise is not that we are debating homosexuality in 1975, but that we have taken so long to get round to it. Britain and Canada debated the subject in the middle 1960s, but many European countries did it long before that. Most states in the United States have changed their laws, and, as the member introducing the Bill has pointed out, there has been debate in the Australian Capital Territory and in some states in Australia, and all of those debates have resulted in a reform of the law which forbade homosexual activity. It says something—I doubt whether it is very flattering—that New Zealand found itself in the front carriage with so many reforms, but in the guard's van of history with this one. The worldwide move towards reform of the law on homosexuality reflects the greater desire by homosexuals themselves to integrate into their community and to play a legitimate part in the community, which we all know they are capable of doing. A recent study on homosexuals that was referred to the select committee contained a report by Hendrik Ruitenbeek. Speaking about homosexuals, he said: “The shift has been from an intense and often guilt-ridden preoccupation with homosexuality to a preoccupation with the homosexual community and the issues which have presented themselves in that community.” Unless as legislators we recognise the profound shift in attitudes among a significant, if small, segment of our population, then we are turning a blind eye to one of the most obvious changes among a minority group in recent times. We have to recognise that people who want to play a significant part in their community cannot do so if they feel themselves to be always lawbreakers. Whether we like it or not, there are a number of males variously estimated at between 4 percent who are exclusive homosexuals, and 10 percent plus who are casual homosexuals. For many of these men no other form of sexual relationship is possible than with their own sex. They come from all walks of life. Many are ordinary workers, many are professional people, yet as the law stands any form of sexual relationship for them involves breaking the law. Before they even start to adjust their lives to society, to take their places within it, and work for its betterment, they are thus outside the law because of their sexual preference. There are not enough good people in the world for any society to be able to rule out from its midst, to deny a feeling of belonging, to some of that minority of people whose sexual desires are different from our own. This Bill brings us to the point where law and morality meet. My own viewpoint can best be expressed by the words of the Canadian Justice Minister, Mr Turner, who, when introducing a Bill to remove the legal penalties against homosexual acts between consenting adult males in private, had this to say to the Canadian House: “The problem of trying to render synonymous law and morality is that we then come down to the question: Whose morality? Whose standards of behaviour? Whose sense of morality? Who is to determine the standard? Who is to attribute the blame? Who is to say what is moral and immoral? Who is to decide when moral responsibility exists in terms of freedom of will, and when it is best diluted in human terms because of environmental or physical causes? In a pluralistic society there may be different standards and differing attitudes, and the law cannot reflect them all. Public order in this situation of a pluralistic society cannot substitute for private conduct. We believe that morality is a matter for private conscience. Criminal law should reflect the public order only.” This Bill attempts—and in my opinion succeeds to some extent—to establish the dividing line between what is criminal and should be the subject of law, and what is private morality. It is a modest Bill that does several things. First, it deletes the crime of indecency for sexual acts between consenting males of 20 or over in private. Secondly, it retains as a crime any sexual act between males where one or both partners are under the age of 20, irrespective of whether there was consent by both parties. Thirdly, the Bill includes a provision that indecency involving a mentally subnormal male, or indecency taking place within a mental hospital, will be an offence. Fourthly, the Bill recognises that the armed forces and the police might wish to retain their own prohibitions against homosexual conduct, whatever the civil law on the subject says. Fifthly, the Bill in no way alters the legal position relating to those under 16, or indeed of men under the age of 20. Sixthly, the Bill does not in any way alter the law on indecent publications. Therefore a suggestion made to the select committee that to alter the law on homosexual acts between consenting adult males in private would result in a flood of indecent literature has no foundation in fact. The Bill also makes minor changes in the sections of the Crimes Act dealing with brothel-keeping and the keeping of places of resort for homosexual acts. Suffice it to say that, despite the fact that section 146 of the Crimes Act is repealed, changes to other sections mean that in no way are the legal safeguards on these matters of brothel-keeping, etc., lowered. The Bill, therefore, is very modest in its scope. Why is it being proposed? I have mentioned the search for social recognition by homosexuals who feel that no other form of sexual activity is possible for them. I should add here that an important point influencing the majority on the select committee was the fact that anything else that might have been done to help the homosexual looked to be doomed to failure. Some people have suggested psychiatric or psychological help, and even shock treatment, to try to change the homosexual’s preference for his own sex, but it was made very clear to the committee that the cure rate—that is, the conversion rate of homosexuals into heterosexuals— has been most discouraging. Psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, and those engaged in counselling work with homosexuals all testified to the fact that for a mature adult male a change in sexual preference was very close to impossible. To make a homosexual into a heterosexual is virtually impossible. The opposite is also true: it is most difficult to make a homosexual out of a convinced heterosexual. That point should be remembered by those, and there are many, who say that society's sexual preferences are delicately founded and subject to change according to whether the influence is homosexual or heterosexual. The evidence that for a small minority of people heterosexuality is impossible must lead to the conclusion that to those people homosexuality—in their eyes—is normal. No other conclusion is possible, and for those people there are only two choices in life as the law stands: one is self-denial, and the other is lawbreaking. The question is whether society has a right to restrict people to only those choices in a situation where there would be no clear harm done either to an individual or to society were the law to be altered to provide a third choice, that is, sexual expression in certain restricted circumstances. My answer must be that we do not have the right to restrict activity seen by a minority as normal unless, in the expression of that sexuality, some innocent person is harmed in some way. Only then would society have a right to object. The select committee working on this Bill recognised society's right in that regard by leaving offences against minors, and many other unacceptable activities, subject to strong penalities. One other matter of concern to some people is the attitude of the churches. Some witnesses argued that the Bible forbade homosexuality. The inference we were to draw from that was that those who felt drawn to homosexual acts should either desist or face the consequences. If this were the message from God, it must be clear to everyone that it falls heavily on the minority and is of little concern at all to the majority who do not experience the temptation. Fortunately, most of the major denominations accepted the unfairness of such a restricted biblical approach. The Methodist Church's public questions committee reported that its submissions in favour of reforming the Crimes Act were accepted by the overwhelming majority of Methodists consulted. The Quakers reported likewise. The New Zealand Student Christian Movement stressed that, in its interpretation of the Bible, it was the relationship—that is, the love— between people, rather than whether the object was a man or woman, that counted in the eyes of God. The provincial committee on public and social affairs of the general synod of the Anglican Church made a similar point. It added, and I quote from its submissions: “As it stands the law treats homosexuals acts between consenting males as more serious than heterosexual acts such as adultery. This seems too inequitable.” The committee supported reform of the law, and so too did the public questions committee of the Presbyterian Church, which first advocated a change in the law in 1968. I quote from its submissions: “While not supporting homosexuality, or regarding it in any way as normal, we believe it is only just that homosexual acts in the case of consenting adults in private should be removed from the criminal code.” The Catholic Church, on the other hand, was officially opposed to reform, although some Catholics have been outspokenly opposed to the official position. I think it fair to say that, within the church as a whole, and within individual churches in particular, there is a continuing debate on the subject, with the consensus tending to favour reform. Having accepted the need for reform, may I say a word about those who, for the best of motives, would move amendments to restrict writings, counselling, or discussion with people under the age of 20 on the subject of homosexuality. There can be no doubt that such people are misguided, even if well intentioned. First, the restrictions will not achieve the stated aims. The evidence was clear that it is very difficult to make a heterosexual into a homosexual. Secondly, the law as it stands provides safeguards against many wrongful acts against minors. Thirdly, in attempting to do what is therefore unnecessary, many precious civil liberties belonging to innocent people could be trampled upon. I am certain I speak for most law reformers when I say that if the price of reform is the acceptance of such restrictive amendments, it is too high a price to pay. Finally, I commend the member for Egmont for having introduced the Bill, and I say—and I think members need to say this—that he has suffered much as a result of carrying the burden of this measure for 12 months. The Bill, as it appears before the House now, is careful in its wording. It recognises the times, and it recognises what I believe to be the mood. It is a Bill worthy of support.
Hon. R. D. MULDOON (Leader of the Opposition)—I have listened very carefully to the two speeches, one from either side of the House, by members who have been closely associated with the select committee hearings on this Bill. I do not propose to take up the time of the House by traversing similar ground, because I could not analyse the Bill nearly as effectively as they have done. My purpose in rising at this time, apart from wishing to make some personal comments on the Bill, is to state and to underline that, for members of the National Party both inside and outside the House, this question is one for individual conscience and decision. I was astonished to receive a letter as recently as this week from someone who referred to this measure as National Party policy. We in the House know what is meant by a conscience vote. It is a fact that the two speakers so far, both of whom favour the Bill, have come from opposite sides of the House, and I have not the slightest doubt that, before the debate is ended, speakers from both sides of the House will oppose the Bill. It is astonishing to me that, having had the experience of the Bill introduced by the member for Porirua earlier this session, which was treated in exactly the same way, some people apparently still do not realise what a vote of this nature in the House is; so if I take a moment or two to underline and emphasise this point, it is simply in the interests of clarity. The Bill is a private member's Bill introduced by the member for Egmont after deep consideration of the subject. It has been to a select committee and has been reported back with a favourable recommendation, it was considered by a two-party select committee, which reported it back to the House with a favourable recommendation by a majority, not unanimously. In the House every individual member will vote on it according to his own views and his own conscience. There will be no Whips as such operating in the debate. Those who wish to speak will rise in their places and be recognised by some mysterious system known only to Mr Speaker on an occasion such as this. The Bill does not represent party policy on either side. As I understand it, both the Prime Minister and I–and, as I was informed tonight by the member in charge of the Bill, the leader of the Social Credit Party as well—support the Bill. Indeed, I would be astonished if the leader of the Values Party did not also support it. Therefore it is clear that at no time does it become a party political matter in that sense. Deep feelings are held on this matter, and there is no doubt that many members of Christian churches, and particularly those of the more fundamental type, are deeply opposed to the measure on what one could term biblical grounds. In my view they are taking—if one could use the term—an Old Testament rather than a New Testament approach—“Old Testament” in terms of the black-andwhite approach to morality or sin, as it is perhaps more explicitly termed, rather than the “New Testament” or compassionate approach to these matters. My colleague the member for Waikato will doubtless quote the New Testament to me in support of his view, which differs from mine. Nevertheless, I believe that if one wants to approach this matter in the biblical sense, there is at least that broad distinction. My approach to the Bill is that of a member who has had sufficient time to consider the matter deeply without being a member of the select committee, and my decision is made principally on compassionate grounds. As a member of Parliament and before being a member of Parliament I have had the opportunity, as many people have, of seeing the misery that can be caused to decent—and I use that term in the widest possible sense— law-abiding New Zealanders who happened, through some accident of nature, to be homosexual. The names of people in that situation, many of whom have been outstanding New Zealanders, would surprise the majority of citizens if they were known; but those same people have lived through in some cases distinguished careers with this shadow hanging over them constantly: that something in their nature which I personally regard as abnormal, as do most New Zealanders, is not simply sinful—if one can use that term—but a crime. I draw a distinction, as did the member for Egmont, between a social offence and a criminal offence. In my view this is not a criminal offence and should not be so treated, but that in no way suggests that it is normal or other than immoral. It is interesting that some prominent people who have been associated with organisations such as the Society for the Protection of Community Standards and the Society for the Protection of the Unborn Child support the Bill. They are people who have thought deeply on these issues and have decided, I think for compassionate reasons, that the suggested reform of the law is desirable. There has been considerable misunderstanding of the effect of this amendment on minors. The Bill increases the penalty for child molestation, and the member for Egmont very clearly and definitely set his face against that. It is in the area where the law has never been enforced, and will never be enforced except by accident, that it is proposed to make this kind of activity no longer a crime. To do it will change very little except in one important respect: it will lift the intolerable burden that is hanging over many people who, in spite of what anyone may say about the modern practice of psychology, medicine, psychiatry—call it what you will—are homosexuals and will remain homosexuals. That is what the Bill sets out to do. I commend the member for Egmont, as I did the member for Porirua earlier this session, for bringing in a measure such as this for our consideration. He has been under a very heavy burden for the last 12 months. A private member bringing in a Bill in this controversial area has to carry all of the pressure that a Minister in charge of a controversial Government Bill has to carry, but without having his colleagues around him to help sustain him and help fight his battles; and the pressures are much greater and much harder to bear for a private member. I believe that this Parliament over the years will be the better for the introduction of private members’ Bills in this field of what one must call social legislation. We know that public attitudes change over the years. It is very difficult for Parliament to move ahead of the changing attitudes of the people. One occasion when we did some years ago was on the question of capital punishment. I believe it took a man of similar character, the late Ralph Hanan, prepared to face up to public pressures, to initiate the action that abolished capital punishment in this country. Regardless of whether or not this Bill gains the approval of the House, I commend the member for Egmont for bringing it before us, and I want him to know that his colleagues, whether they support his Bill or not, do feel for him in the circumstances in which he has found himself during the past 12 months. I go back to what I said at the beginning and underline the fact that for National Party members, both inside and outside the House, although we have passed resolutions at our party conferences on the issue, their attitudes in this debate and any debate that may follow are up to their individual consciences. We have taken no test in caucus as to who is going to vote which way. I do not know which way the members on this side will vote, apart from individuals who have expressed their views to me. That should be underlined, and I am sure the same is the case on the Government side. That is the way the debate will be carried on, and the way the vote will be taken.
Mr BLANCHFIELD (West Coast)— Although this amendment will draw only a brief speech from me, I can conscientiously state that I have studied the law as it stands, I have studied the amendment Bill introduced by the member for Egmont, and I have studied the proposed further amendment by the member for Porirua. Homosexuality demands years of study by experts, with the result of their studies being passed on to anybody involved in the welfare of humanity. There are two main factors in the amendment Bill, as I see it. After reading through thousands of pages of books, reports, and submissions over the last few months, I have come to the conclusion that the truism “the greatest good for the greatest number” must be foremost in debating and voting. I sincerely believe that the law as it stands does not nearly equate the damage that would be done by giving the green light to homosexuality as the member's amendment would do. In my long experience of high-ranking police officers who authorise prosecutions, I do not know of any prosecution of two wellknown, respected adult males, locked away from the public gaze, indulging in homosexual activities—only prosecutions when incidents have taken place in alleyways or toilets, or when a child has been molested. There may have been one or two cases I do not know about where jealousy or hatred could have caused complaints, but barging into locked bedrooms in private premises is almost unknown. If any members of the House know of police activity like that, I implore them to speak out and give general statistics without being specific. A growing section of New Zealanders will be influenced by the gay libbers' way of life. Theirs is definitely not a good example for New Zealanders to set their standards by. I do not want to be emotional, but the gay libbers want the age of consent brought down to 16. That is not in the amendment, but that is what they want, and it will not be long before they want it lower still if this amendment is passed tonight. We hear much about zero population growth but if this style of life grows, the natural idea of procreation could go by the board and we will get near to zero population growth. I say, perish the thought! The difference now is that in recent years society has asked the homosexual to change his ways, but now the homosexual demands that society change its ways. The ramifications of this movement are enormous, and I am very dubious about what will happen to our people in the future. The implication is nothing less than a radical new society. I hope the member for Egmont realises the way the gay libbers are going. Their endeavours to create an atmosphere of happy comradeship are only a facade; the movement is as full of social dynamite as Guy Fawkes' barrels were of political gunpowder. This group presents a bold, even a defiant front, and many are definitely militant. Police activities seem to be the background of one or two of the speeches tonight, and of the amendment Bill. The speeches conjure up ideas of blackmail, corruption, and all sorts of things that would perhaps pertain to Watergate, but I would say that, from my knowledge of the police, they are hot against the blackmailer. They will chase a blackmailer just as quickly as they will chase a murderer, and they will not let up on him. In any case of a blackmailer against a decent citizen, I know whose side I will be on— the side of the police. Blackmail is one of our worst crimes, and any genuine policeman will make a blackmailer the bull'seye of his target. The Leader of the Opposition or the member for Egmont mentioned child molesters. I am hot on them too, but they would be encouraged by the green light that New Zealand society, through this Bill, would give to homosexual relations being carried on with a minimum of public resentment. We must show in no uncertain manner that we are hot against child molesters. There is no question in the minds of doctors, teachers, welfare officers, clergymen, and parents that the child molester should be universally detested. Before I sit down I should like to quote a medical authority whom I consider to be as good as any of the many who will probably be quoted tonight. I will settle for him. He is Mr J. F. Gwynne, pathologist and anatomist, biologist, M.D., F.R.C.P.A., M.R.C., Dunedin. He says: “I believe individuals exhibit abnormal behaviour who indulge in homosexuality. Normality can only be defined by generally accepted standards, and I admit that I personally see homosexual acts as contrary to generally accepted standards of sexual conduct.” In a very well-written letter this biologist and anatomist concludes by saying: “I would stress again, as I did earlier, the significance of the creation of new human life in the heterosexual relationship, which is entirely divorced from consenting sexual acts between males.” That is where the zero population will come in if this thing gets too far out of hand. Professor Gwynne says in his summary: “I believe that homosexuals should be regarded by society with sympathy and understanding, but an acceptance of their actions as a normal variant of human behaviour degrades heterosexual relationships to the serious detriment of the family and society in general.” I shall vote against the amendment Bill, I shall vote against the further amendment, and I hope that New Zealand will still be New Zealand as it has been since our pioneer fathers landed here and set a standard of behaviour of which we can well be proud.
Hon. DAVID THOMSON (Stratford) —I oppose the second reading of the Crimes Amendment Bill which seeks to legalise sodomy and indecent acts between adult consenting males. The criminal law in our country does not condemn the human condition; it does not condemn a person for being a homosexual; but it does condemn homosexual acts, because it is not the homosexual condition that is the threat to society and to the individual—it is the indulgence in homosexual acts that destroys human dignity. I praised the action of the member for Egmont in bringing this matter before Parliament, and I still respect him for doing that, although I oppose the intent of his Bill. The original Bill contained a proposal that these acts should be lawful between consenting males of 21 years and over. The Bill as reported back from the select committee after 6 months’ hearing of evidence brought the age down to 20. I remind honourable members who might support this proposal that the age of 20 is not the last of it. There are proposals abroad in this country, supported by very powerful social forces, that the age should be lowered to 16, the age that is known as the age of consent in respect of heterosexual acts. To indicate the forces at work overseas I quote from the New Citizen, the newspaper of the Methodist Church in Britain, an article entitled “Christians tangle over sex law reform”. This states that the British Sexual Law Reform Society, “chaired by Bishop John Robinson and involving such well-known Christians as Monica Furlong and Lord Beaumont of Whitley, recommends lowering the age of consent to 14 (for heterosexual and homosexual acts).” So if any honourable member thinks he will see the end of the matter by supporting this Bill, which proposes making these acts lawful between males of 20 years of age, clearly he will not. The Anglican Church's committee on public and social affairs, in evidence to the select committee, said in a letter dated 17 February: “It was argued against a change to 18 or 16 that it would create difficulties for discipline in some schools. Eighteen is perhaps less open to objection from this angle because it would involve fewer still at school. What all this amounts to is that we’—that is, the Anglican Church's committee on public and social affairs—“would not be opposed to the Justice Department's suggestion that the age of consent be 18.” And the Methodist Church in its evidence said: “In support of reducing the age to 16 years in the proposed amendment it is noted that a girl of 16 years may consent to carnal knowledge with a man. It is difficult to find reasons that would permit such a girl to make a decision concerning her sexual conduct with either a male or a female (for female homosexuality does not come within the purview of the law)”— that is not quite factual—“but yet deny that same right and responsibility to a 16-year-old male. The Methodist public questions committee favours substituting 18 years for 21 years in clause 3, but would not oppose the alternative suggestion of 16 years.” The Society of Friends—the Quakers— said in its evidence: “One quibble would be whether or not the age of 21 is the best age at which to define the boundary between legality and illegality. It is known that a fair amount of casual and superficial homosexual experimentation goes on during adolescence, and we recommend that consideration be given to lowering the age of consent to 18.” So let no honourable member who supports this Bill think that its passing will end the matter. If this Bill is passed there will be enormous pressure on members in the future to bring the age of consent to the common figure of 16 for both heterosexual and homosexual acts. Actions listed in our statutes as crimes are those acts of deviant human behaviour which our society over the years has dedecided require censure. They also act as a danger sign, a warning to individuals within society, that if one goes beyond that limit one can easily find oneself in a quicksand, in real trouble. I believe that in this group of sections of the Crimes Act which deal with sexual offences the warning is as important to society as the actual offence. Certainly I do not think, except perhaps in sexual crimes involving violence, that society has any desire to inflict vindictive punishment. That is certainly not so where homosexual acts are concerned. Evidence has been given that there were no adult male homosexuals in prison in recent years for that offence alone. Indeed, there is no obligation on our courts under our law to send those guilty of homosexual offences to prison, and there is ample evidence to indicate that imprisonment is not the most helpful way to rehabilitate such offenders. But the seriousness with which we regard the various acts which we have labelled as crimes depends upon their effect upon the life and dignity of the individual and of society as a whole, on the security and preservation of property, and on certain abstract values such as honesty and decency which we have regarded as essential to the maintenance of a healthy society. Of course, the deviant sexual acts labelled as crimes draw penalties related to our own judgment of their effect, having regard to the circumstances of the offence. The offence of murder involves a penalty of life imprisonment, and the acts of the homosexual are regarded by the proposers of the change as equal to murder where an adult offends against a minor. It is argued that the law causes homosexuals to commit suicide, but I believe it is the act and not the law that causes the loss of dignity, and difficulty in sustaining any purpose in life. Again, it is argued by many of those who support the Bill that homosexuals cannot help themselves. I do not believe that to be true. I believe there is an element of choice, even although I accept that there are enormous pressures on people who have a homosexual condition –pressures brought about very often by environmental factors in early childhood. Modern research indicates that such factors, and not a genetic variation, are the main cause of a homosexual condition. I do not accept the idea of predestination, and I believe that society has an obligation to do all it possibly can to help those who have difficulties with their human condition. That does not require society to go so far as to give a colour of right and propriety to acts which are now criminal and which degrade human dignity and undermine social values. I know it is argued that New Zealand has retained the law as it is long beyond the change in Britain, Canada, Australia, and other places. I find myself totally unmoved by that argument, because I feel no compulsion to keep up with the Joneses, nor am I persuaded by that slick sophism, attributed to a North American politician, that the State has no right to pry into the bedrooms of the citizens. If murder is committed in the bedroom, the State must be there. I believe, too, that if there is indecency the State is also concerned, because it is concerned with each and every individual in society. During the hearing in the select committee the honourable member for Porirua, whose stand on public decency is undoubted, introduced a proposal that the law should prevent discussion or advocacy of homosexual consorting—and I use that word in a general way; I do not have the suggested amendment before me. I argued against the member's suggestion because, if the House accepted this Bill, those acts between adult consenting males would become lawful. When certain acts are given a colour of right and propriety in that way I do not think that Parliament should say it is wrong to talk to young people about them. One cannot right a wrong in that way. We are concerned to retain freedom of speech, and I cannot accept the proposal put forward by the member for Porirua. Every member has a very considerable duty to take care in his decision on this Bill, because if the Bill is passed it will be the beginning of a long road of weakening society's defences. I agree with the description given by the member for Porirua on 28 May, as published in the Evening Post. Advocating his amendment, he described homosexual involvement as having disastrous consequences. There is no need for any of us, whichever way we feel about this Bill, to suggest that there is any lack of compassion in those who are on the other side of the argument. As the Metropolitan of New Zealand, Archbishop Delargey, said in evidence before the committee, “The question of the place and plight of the homosexual in our society is one of grave concern”. I believe it is of grave concern to all of us, whatever side of the argument we take on this Bill. The Archbishop went on to say: “It demands at all times serious understanding, genuine compassion, and the sincere attempt to express human encouragement despite the difficulties that surround us. It must be made clear we do not reject, condemn, or in any way sit in judgment on the homosexual.” I will continue to oppose this Bill at every opportunity, and if Parliament decides to pass it I will continue to oppose any lowering of the age of consent that would be involved. I have had much experience of service in the armed forces. As honourable members know, for nearly 3 years I was in a totally male society as a prisoner of war. Perhaps more than most members I have reason to know the strains that are placed upon men, and I have no doubt at all that this Bill will not help those who do have a homosexual condition, but will harm our society and every individual in it.
Mr C. R. MARSHALL (Wanganui)— May I say again that I would like to indicate my warm support for this measure, and my support for the member for Egmont and his courage in not only introducing the Bill but also in seeing it through to this stage. I congratulate the member for Waitemata on his chairmanship of the committee and for the contribution he made to the debate earlier this evening. I want to repeat some of the points I made on the first reading nearly 12 months ago, firstly to support the Homosexual Law Reform Society for the fact that for 8 years now it has waged a very sensible and thoughtful campaign in order to try to have the existing law altered. The major reasons for the society's support of the legislation have already been outlined by the member for Egmont. I would like again to remind the House that this measure has very wide support in the community, from Jaycees at the national level, from a number of branches of the National Council of Women, from the Council for Civil Liberties, from the Howard League for Penal Reform, from the New Zealand University Students Association, from both major political parties at their national conferences, from the Values Party in its election manifesto and, as we have heard tonight, from the Social Credit Party at its leadership level at least, and from a number of groups around the country who made submissions to the select committee. Over the years other countries have sought to remove this discriminatory law. The law was altered in England and Wales in 1967, in Canada in 1970, in South Australia in 1972, in the Australian Capital Territory in 1973, and each year one or two states of the United States makes similar changes in their laws. Most Western European countries, however, have no legal prohibition on homosexual acts, at least in private, and have not had such a provision for many years. In 1967, under President Lyndon Johnson, a task force on homosexuality was established. Unfortunately, that task force reported back after a change of Government, with the effect that the recommendations have not been heeded at federal level. On that task force were 15 people who were regarded as outstanding behavioural, medical, social, and legal experts in their own country. They reported back in October 1969, and 12 of the 15 made these remarks, amongst others: “Although many people continue to regard homosexual activities with repugnance, there is evidence that public attitudes are changing. Discreet homosexuality, together with many other aspects of human sexual behaviour, is being recognised more and more as the private business of the individual rather than a subject for public regulation through statute. Many homosexuals are good citizens holding regular jobs and leading productive lives. The existence of legal penalties relating to homosexual acts means that the mental health problems of homosexuals are exacerbated by the need for concealment and the emotional stresses arising from this need and from the opprobrium of being in violation of the law. On the other hand, there is no evidence suggesting that legal penalties are effective in preventing or reducing the incidence of homosexual acts in private between consenting adults. A number of eminent bodies, the British Wolfenden Commission, the Ninth International Congress on Criminal Law, and the American Law Institute in its model penal code, have all recommended, after extensive studies, that statutes covering sexual acts be recast in such a way as to remove legal penalties against acts in private among consenting adults.” The member for Egmont—and other members have alluded to this issue as well —indicated the division of opinion amongst the churches. I think most members are by now aware that at a national level the Methodist Church, the Presbyterian Church, and the Society of Friends support the provisions of this Bill; the executive committee of the National Council of Churches supported it in a resolution passed in April last year; the Anglican Church's public questions committee, as we have heard tonight, supported the legislation in its submission; and although the Roman Catholic Church officially opposes the legislation, we are aware that a number of laymen and religious of the church support the measure. I remind members of the letter I distributed to them which came from a number of priests in the Canterbury area, and I quote a couple of observations from that letter dated 20 May: “We support the amendments to the Crimes Act relating to homosexual offences. The following considerations have led us to give support to these amendments. (a) We have some experience as priests of the social discrimination which is practised against homosexuals. It is our concern that this discrimination can lead to a victimisation of homosexuals in their occupations and in their social life. (b) While Roman Catholic moral teaching proscribes homosexual acts, it also proscribes victimisation of others. That teaching provides no warrant for issuing constant public condemnations of homosexuals or for arousing unjustifiable anxiety or unreasonable fear of those who openly acknowledge themselves to be homosexual. (c) Roman Catholic priests are offered guidance to equip them to assist those who experience their homosexuality as a source of serious personal difficulty. This guidance reflects an appreciation of homosexuality as one of the most sensitive facets of human sexuality. For this reason Roman Catholic priests are required to offer advice to homosexuals with more than usual reticence, and give guidance without fear that this is indicative of an attitude of misplaced tolerance or moral laxity.” I think it can be fairly seen from what I have said that quite a number of people in each church have a point of view mainly in support of the member for Egmont's legislation. I refer now to the question of public opinion. Many members of Parliament, on this issue and other such moral issues, are rather sensitive about the attitudes that voters may take, and I think there is a misplaced belief that the majority of the population is against the Bill. I would like to refer members to the Heylen poll the results of which were published in the magazine Thursday on 28 March last year. From a random sample of 1,000 respondents, the answer to the question “Should the law allow homosexual acts between consenting adults in private?” was: yes, 53.9 percent, and no, 38.9 percent. Those people who did not know or who had no opinion numbered 7.2 percent. I would like to point out the makeup of this House in comparison with the people who responded to that survey. The survey showed that women were a little more liberal on this issue than men, 55.8 percent of them favouring liberalisation of the law, as against 52.1 percent of men. It also showed that people under 40 years were considerably more liberal about the issue than people over 40. Of those under 40 years, 64.8 percent were in favour of changing the law, whereas only 39.8 percent of those over 40 favoured a change in the law. All of us are aware that the majority of members in this House are male and over 40 years, and I hope that we realise that on this issue the New Zealand male aged over 40 is considerably at variance in his opinion with the rest of the population. The last reference I wish to make is to an article published in the New Zealand Law Journal in January 1972 by Dr D. L. Mathieson. Dr Mathieson, who has long been a strong supporter of this change in legislation, pointed out the following arguments in favour of the change. The first argument, he said, is essentially humanitarian. “To change the law will significantly reduce the sum total of human suffering in our midst.” Secondly, “the present law discriminates between male homosexual acts which are criminal, and lesbian homosexual acts which are not. The third argument is that the present law is hypocritically and very haphazardly enforced, and the fourth argument is that if a homosexual act is a ‘social evil’, which is something different from saying it is immoral, the exposure and the punishment of the actor is a greater evil than the evil it is designed to prevent.” In that article Dr Mathieson went on to make some interesting comments about morality and the strange way in which attitudes to the law become confused with attitudes towards morality. He made these points. “Can the law preserve morality? Or, in this particular area, is the most that it can achieve a higher measure of conformity? Surely a person acts ‘morally’ when he chooses to do what he thinks is right because he thinks it is right. If someone keeps a promise simply because there is a law against breaking promises—which there is not—or desists from a homosexual act for no other reason than that there is a law against such acts —which there is—that is not acting ‘morally’. It is conforming to the pattern of conduct which society approves. An enforced morality is an empty morality. Of course, a person may have mixed motives: he may simultaneously fear being caught and prosecuted, and morally disapprove that act which the law prohibits. So he desists. A fair observer would ascribe proportionately less moral value to that decision to desist. Morality, then, must be distinguished from conformity. The present law puts pressure on homosexuals to conform—to the extent to which it is successful in this endeavour it has not done anything to preserve the morality of our society.” As I said at the outset, I favour this Bill. I think that if we in this House do not support its passage we will be turning our face against an advance in moral standards in our society and turning our face against the rest of the world and the majority of people in our country. I am sure that in years to come, as people look back to this debate, they will realise that this Bill, if we pass it, will have been at long last a landmark in the growing social conscience of our society.
Mr W. L. YOUNG (Miramar)—Society is widely divided on the matter of homosexuality, and that divergence of views comes through very clearly in the expression of opinion we have had from members tonight. The Bill before us has been before a select committee, which itself was divided on this matter. It comes back with amendments, one of which I will in due course make specific reference to. The member for Egmont, who promoted this Bill, did so with a sense of compassion. His objective was to liberalise the law relating to homosexual acts between consenting adults. I believe his sympathy was not well founded. Homosexuality has existed throughout the ages. Even so, this does not mean that the practice can be considered a normal one, or should be encouraged. Society generally does not desire the persecution of adult homosexuals who, in all other ways, desire to be normal and useful citizens; and I subscribe to this view. They should not be pursued. We have had notice of a further amendment from the member for Porirua, and I state my position on this and say that I will not support it, because to my mind it savours of pursuance. Society, like the member who promoted this Bill, endeavours to have an understanding of a situation it does not encourage. When a homosexual seeks help it should be readily available, and there should be no suggestion by any who oppose this Bill, that there is any thought of sitting in judgment on homosexuals or their activities. The reason given for the amendment to clause 2 suggested by the select committee, which reduces the age from 21 to 20, is hard to follow. My sympathy towards the Bill would have been increased if the age had been raised from 21 to 25. Should this Bill become law it will give legal status to homosexuality being established at 20. The argument could then be advanced, as stated by the member for Stratford, that the age could be reduced. If a person can vote at 18 and fight for his country at 18, that becomes a valid reason for reducing the age of consenting participants to 18 if in fact it is established that there should be the amendment to the law which this Bill proposes. To reduce the age to 18 would be quite undesirable. There could be legal homosexual activities among secondary school pupils. Parents will realise the significance of my views, and substantially support the views I hold and express. The increasing of the penalty from 10 to 14 years for indecency between a man and a boy would deter few if any who contemplated this illegal activity. It is too much to believe that anyone who has this activity in mind weighs up that the penalty has been extended from 10 to 14 years. That person seeks to escape penalty either by avoiding detection or by hoping that parents, in order to avoid indelibly imprinting the unhappy incident on the young person's mind, will not seek a prosecution. I have said that we must have compassion and some understanding of homosexuals and their problems, but I have made it clear that homosexuality is not to be encouraged. It does not strengthen society; it will not strengthen the family unit. Therefore, nowithstanding all the compassion I can command, I cannot move to legalise homosexual practices and so give them the implied blessing of legality.
Hon. MICHAEL CONNELLY (Minister of Police)—As I indicated when this Bill was introduced, I oppose it on the grounds that homosexuality is an unnatural habit and that changing the law to legalise the practice will not make it natural. Homosexuals require medical treatment, not a change in the law. There is another facet as well. If, by a change in the law, this practice is given a cloak of respectability, it will not stop with 20year-olds or 16-year-olds; it will be boys next. If confirmation of that is required, it is provided by spokesmen on behalf of homosexuals who, when the original Bill was introduced, and also in evidence before a select committee of this House, claimed that the so-called age of consent in this Bill should be lowered, and advocated that it should be lowered well below the age of 20 provided in the amended Bill before the House. I cannot believe that mothers with young daughters, who are already worried about the possibility of their being violated, and who have young sons as well, can be happy at this further worry which some people seem bent on imposing on them—the worry of knowing their young boys will also be at greater risk as well. The same worry must also be felt by mothers whose only children are boys, and by those who may yet have sons. Once it is known by young and immature people that adults treat homosexuality as an acceptable practice, they will tend to be influenced in favour of this unnatural practice when in fact it should be discouraged. Some who support this Bill justify their approach by a claim that attempts to cure homosexuals with drugs, by psychotherapy, and by behaviour therapy, have had limited success. That is a poor argument, and that view is widely rejected by a commentator by the name of Court, who, after surveying recent reports of successful treatment of homosexuals, said: “It is now possible to refute categorically the view that the homosexual cannot be effectively treated.” The same type of view is put by a group of people in my electorate who studied the matter. They wrote to me, saying in part: “We must not be swayed by those who would tell us that homosexual relationship is normal. That would be contrary to biological, medical, and psychological sense.” Then they go on to say: “What then should be our attitude to the homosexual? First we must realise that he must be treated as a person who needs help and counsel, as psychological factors are the most significant in causing homosexuality . . . We do not wish to shun the homosexual as a person—that is extremely important—but we believe that his acts must be discouraged lest moral and social corruption in our society increases and lest indecent acts against minors and incapables become more prevalent.” They advocate, amongst other things, the power of medical referral substantially in cases where homosexuals appear before the court and where homosexuality has been a factor in crime. Homosexuality is a medical matter, and thus this Bill introduced by the member for Egmont, providing for a change in the law, is not the appropriate way of dealing with it. What is required is the ready availability of medical treatment and counselling to help these people with their problem; and that is the approach which I believe this House should adopt.
Mr KIRK (Sydenham)—I rise to speak against the second reading of this Crimes Amendment Bill with the sad awareness that society in New Zealand is at risk of becoming as untidy and unkempt as those of many of the other Western nations. It is a poor and sad state of affairs that something which could be a catalyst to future social breakdown should be supported in debate with the conviction of those members who support the second reading of this Bill. Those who support this Bill are blinding New Zealand with a wordy and hypothetical argument. The average New Zealander will not be fooled. He does not want this measure. In the job of gaining political support for their cause, the homosexual reformers have probably accomplished the greatest public relations job yet. A small percentage of people has been able to influence many in this Chamber who have been elected by a majority. Members of the public did not elect on this basis last time. They will not be gullible, and the member for Egmont and his supporters in this Chamber will no doubt find out what it is to carry a cross. There is a price. Why do they not stop seeking self reassurance by referring to religion or public opinion polls. They only cite the information that suits their cause. Supporters of the Bill repeatedly refer to the fact that this or that country has introduced it. Can they not make a case without leaning on comparative legislation? Why do they not try to make their case with ordinary New Zealanders, the New Zealanders who attend rugby clubs, working men's clubs, and the like? They would be prudent to ask those people. I did, and I know what they say. It beats me why they offer all the arguments in the world to achieve social breakdown. This Bill, if passed, will not slake the thirst of liberationists; it will only whet their appetite. How much freedom does the member for Egmont require? Taken to its natural conclusion, it would not be long before further breakdowns occurred. This Bill represents the people who are adherents to the permissive society syndrome, the people who say that in this and other unacceptable ways they can do as they like. In their ham-fisted grab in response to these pressure groups, there are members in this Chamber who are prepared to give up, on behalf of our society, levels of living so jealously and rightly maintained in the past. We should be people who help the weak, I agree; but we are not helping the weak by bringing down legislation which condones them. I will not vote to condone, and neither will the average New Zealander. One wonders why the almost matter-offact acceptance of the exceptions proposed for the Police and the Army are only mentioned in passing by the member for Egmont and the member for Waitemata. Why the exception? When they dish out their principal revelations, why do they so quietly accept these exceptions? Why the difference? It would seem to indicate a recognition that it would not be acceptable to the Army or the Police, both groups employing average New Zealanders. New Zealand is full of average New Zealanders. If it is no good for the Army or the Police, then it is no good for New Zealand. If it is not acceptable to the Army or the Police, why is an exception not provided for the Ministry of Works? New Zealand wants a decent society based on sound experience and tolerance—not a society darting here and there on the vacillations of intellectual claptrap. We have had an undermining by these people. When will we see the collapse? It also appears to me that there has been an unnatural and large amount of time, intelligence, and energy squandered on a small group of people. I wish a quarter of the time, intelligence, and energy spent on this group could find effective application in areas of constructive aid to the physically and mentally disadvantaged people of New Zealand. Perhaps this kind of effort does not attract the attention of people in the scramble for publicity about themselves. Perhaps the task of devoting concentrated and demanding effort to the socially underprivileged must take second place to the pussyfooting and bandwagoning which has taken place over the gaunt, not gay, Bill of the member for Egmont, the Crimes Amendment Bill. We must be mindful of what is next. It has been made more than obvious that these people require more of what they wrongly term “social advance” within their own group than is contained in this Bill. I oppose the second reading.
Hon. L. R. ADAMS-SCHNEIDER (Waikato)—As I said when the Bill was introduced on 24 July of last year, I do not support the liberalisation of the law that it proposes, but I certainly recognise the right of the member for Egmont to introduce it. I know he has given very deep consideration to the subject, and that it was only after further such consideration that he made a decision to support the principle and to go as far as introducing a Bill. In doing so he places upon us all the responsibility of dealing with this Bill, or, putting it another way, he has given us the opportunity of debating it as lawmakers, as the people the country has sent here to legislate. I, too, have studied this matter over a period of years, particularly earlier on when I was undertaking certain studies, including theological studies. As the member for Waitemata said earlier tonight, it was and it is a matter for continuing debate in theological circles. I accept that prople, all of whom want the best for our society, are very definitely divided on this issue. I know that priests, ministers, and members of Christian churches are so divided, but from my own knowledge I believe it can be clearly shown that the majority of the broad-stream evangelicals in the individual churches are opposed, and strongly opposed, to the liberalisation of the law. My colleague, the Leader of the Opposition, used the expression “Christian people with a fundamental approach”. That is the same as saying “evangelical approach”, I think.
Mr Luxton—The Exclusive Brethren.
Hon. L. R. ADAMS-SCHNEIDER—I do not think they made any statement at all, but I can tell the member for Piako that the Open Brethren assemblies and other evangelical groups have made definite statements, and indeed made statements to the committee. I think the honourable member was a member of the select committee, and I will remind him of those representations in a few minutes' time. These people do not lack sympathy and understanding for the homosexual, but they are convinced that to legalise the act is to encourage it, and that to encourage it is bad for the nation. That is where they stand, and that is the message they are trying to give. They state, and I believe correctly, that the act is condemned in the Scriptures, both in the Old and the New Testaments, and it is their view that in this day and age we and the Churches by and large seem to be forgetting the undoubted power of redemption. They believe that past civilisations decayed and eventually perished because homosexual practices were either lawful or condoned, or even encouraged. I refer to the submissions made by the Open Brethren assemblies to the select committee: “We write on behalf of the majority of Christians known as Open Brethren through New Zealand to express our concern over and opposition to the Crimes Amendment Bill at present under consideration by Parliament, which would have the effect of removing the criminal penalty from homosexual acts in certain circumstances.” The submissions quote a series of scriptural statements from the law of the Old Testament through to Romans I, 26-27, I Corinthians 2, 9 and 10. The reference in Romans, of course, is to lesbian as well as male homosexual practices, and they point out that the historic references in the Old Testament are taken up in the doctrinal teaching of the New Testament; and therefore, they say, this is something that should not be practised by Christian people, but also that, because of the facts of history, we should not legislate for it—it is not good for the nation. I have here a letter sent to me by the Merivale Christian Fellowship. I do not know any members of this fellowship, and I am not a member of the Open Brethren assemblies, although I have worked with them and with other evangelicals right throughout life, and I appreciate the very great contribution they have made not only to religion but to education, to social work in the mission field, and to medicine. There can be no doubt that those people have made a considerable contribution here, and they do not speak only from the background of their faith, but from the background of their knowledge in these other fields. This Merivale Christian Fellowship says: “We believe that a nation is only as strong as its communities, and its communities are only as strong as the families in that community. Once the family unit is broken down, then so is our nation. History tells us that great civilisations have crumbled because of perverse moral standards”, and they quote the ancient civilisations of Rome, Greece, and Egypt. They go on: “We who love and are praying for our nation, our Government, and our Parliament directing the nation, want to see God's standards raised, restored, and not lowered.” That is a fair statement of the position of people with these convictions in all denominations. We have heard tonight of the views of church courts, and I accept that the public questions committees of many of these churches support the approach of this Bill. I concede that there is division, and if there is division amongst the churches it is very difficult for members of this House, on that basis, to make up their own minds. But we must make up our own minds, exercise our judgment, in the light not only of our conscience, but of our knowledge of the Christian faith, of society, of medicine, and of the criminal law. I recently addressed a ministers' fraternal in Hamilton—ministers representing all the churches. They said, “What can we do for you people as members of Parliament?” I told them some things they could do, but I said, “One thing you can't do, and that's advise us as a body on how we should vote on Mr Young's Bill, because you people are divided yourselves.” But large numbers of people, and particularly the evangelicals of each denomination, have strong convictions, and th have written to members of Parliament in their scores, and in some cases in their hundreds. They believe, and I believe, that to legislate in this way is to encourage something which will be fundamentally bad for the nation. These people all have compassion, but they believe that when it comes to the making of law there is a need for the people who have that responsibility to legislate for the good of the nation, the community, and the most important single unit in the community, the family. When we legislate here we should be thinking of the spirit that is abroad today, epitomised by Gay Lib and others. In no uncertain terms they have told us what their objectives are. I support the member for Stratford and other members who have said that once we pass this Bill the next step will be to move towards the 18year-olds, the 16-year-olds, and, as the member for Stratford mentioned, suggestions are coming from some church groups overseas that the 14-year-olds should be included. I do not think any members who would support this Bill would support that. Once the Bill is passed, people who are strong advocates of the principle of it will want to see this House go further, and they will not rest until this Parliament or some other Parliament does go further. I believe we have a very solemn task before us, and I hope that this House will support the status quo, without in any way expressing any lack of compassion or understanding for homosexuals. This is a matter for every member to decide, and I have given considerable thought to it for many years. Some people have written to me and said, “We want you, having opposed the Bill initially, to give some thought to it.” They are speaking to someone who has given thought to it for a long time. I appreciate the problem, but I also appreciate the very great responsibility we have as members of Parliament and as legislators. I believe we should put the nation and the family first.
Mr O’FLYNN (Kapiti)—When this Bill was introduced nearly a year ago I indicated that, subject to a very important qualification I am about to come to, I would without much enthusiasm support it as a very limited legal reform that was justified in the human and imperfect world we live in. Events that have occurred since make it necessary for me to explain the attitude I am now going to follow, but before I come to the qualification I made at that time, and which is central to what I want to say, I wish to take the opportunity to clarify my attitude to the subject generally. I wish first of all to say that I am among those who regard homosexual conduct as wrong, immoral, and, if you prefer the old-fashioned word—and it is not so old-fashioned— sinful. Further, it is impossible to argue that the act is either normal or natural. I would have thought that that was selfevident, simply because of the linking of man's sexual urge with an obvious biological necessity. In no circumstances is it ever going to be possible to describe that conduct as normal for mankind. But those are not really the questions that the Bill raises. The question raised by the Bill is not whether such conduct is normal or abnormal, or moral or immoral, but whether it should continue to be criminal. Like a lot of other members —I am sure all of us, really—I have given much anxious thought to that question, and I have reached the conclusion, on balance, that it ought not to continue to be criminal. It is not a conclusion that I reached either lightly or easily, and I did not reach it on one of the more usual grounds. I am not persuaded that large numbers of people are being deprived of some right of sexual expression they ought to have. I reached my conclusion on three quite narrow grounds that I can put in a sentence each. First, I know—and my experience in legal practice serves to confirm this—that criminal proceedings are very rarely taken today in the circumstances to which this Bill is primarily directed. Secondly, I know—and again it is confirmed by my own experience of legal practice—that tremendous, dangerous pressures are exerted upon homosexuals under the present law. These pressures, which were referred to by the member for Egmont and other speakers, lead to all kinds of objectionable activity, and to crime, including serious crimes such as blackmail. In the not too distant past they have even led to charges of murder. Thirdly, so far as I have been able to see with some experience of the operation of the law, the passing of this Bill would eliminate those evils without significantly increasing the risk of the spread of this immoral conduct. That brings me back to the qualification I mentioned to begin with. When the Bill was introduced I expressed somewhat unenthusiastic support for it provided that some amendment was introduced to deal with a certain aspect. The passage of time has done nothing except emphasise the importance of that aspect. I made the point on the introduction of the Bill that although the Homosexual Law Reform Society had behaved throughout its campaign with commendable moderation and common sense, there were and there are a number of other groups in the community who, in supporting this reform, adopt an outright aggressive attitude towards it and towards the criminality they say it will relieve. Meanwhile they have made their attitude abundantly clear. They want this sort of conduct to be regarded as normal. One such group wrote to me criticising the Bill because it did not remove what it called the stigma attached to this kind of conduct. I agree with the member for Egmont, who said that his Bill will not render this activity acceptable. I endeavoured to explain to the group that the law does not put any stigma on such conduct, nor does it take it away; that is the prerogative of the public. But undoubtedly some people want to tell us that it is a good or praiseworthy activity. A number of them seem to want to propagate it, and many of them want to reduce the age at which the proposed law will take effect. It was those circumstances that put me in a tremendous difficulty. I feel that, unless something can be done to discourage or prevent this kind of activity, this Bill is dangerous and premature, and that is the point I made when the Bill was introduced. No amendments were produced by the committee, but the member for Porirua has given us notice of his intention to move an amendment. As is obvious from what I have already said, I sympathise with the objective he has in mind, but I feel his amendment would be far too sweeping. The member for Porirua has said on more than one occasion that in practice it will work out all right, but I consider that a dangerous premise on which to write the law, and I feel unable to support the sweeping terms of his proposed amendment. What should I do? After the most anxious thought I have reached the conclusion that, in those circumstances, I can conscientiously follow only one course—that is simply and deliberately to abstain from voting at all. This is not the kind of stance I usually take, as most people know. I shall conclude by saying that I have made this decision not because I cannot make up my mind, and certainly not because I am trying to do the impossible and please both sides of the argument. I adopt that attitude for what I consider to be the good reasons I have endeavoured to explain, which I can summarise in this way: on the one hand I am not prepared to cast a vote against that limited reform for the three reasons I have given, and on the other hand, in the climate created in New Zealand today by those aggressive groups to whom I have referred, I find I am unable to support the Bill in the absence of safeguards. If you like, you can say I think that the time is not right, it is premature, or that something must be done to damp down that kind of activity before I would be prepared to support such a measure as this. The last point I wish to make is that if the reformers are disappointed at the loss of my support, they have the wild fringe of their own supporters and some of their publicists to blame. I propose to abstain from voting on the Bill.
Mr K. R. ALLEN (Tauranga)—I rise tonight to oppose the Bill. Indeed, I oppose it strongly. I believe it has been badly written, and that it will not accomplish what the member who has introduced it set out to do. The Bill, as it is written, gives licence not only to homosexuals but also to perverts and the curious excitement hunters. It will encourage adult males to become interested in abnormal sexual practices, and at the same time it will remove the penalty which presently exists for those practices. The Bill applies not only to homosexuals, and this is where we strike the problem. In fact, if one reads the Bill very carefully, it is found that it does not even mention the word homosexuals. In other words, it includes any and all males who wish to indulge in the practices referred to. Is this what we want? I do not think it is. We all know that throughout the world today—and New Zealand is no exception —the people are being assailed by all sorts of minorities who have decided to use every opportunity possible to force their opinions on to others. This is happening now to the Parliament of New Zealand on the basis that homosexuality is a popular issue—and that in itself is subject to further debate. No Parliament has ever made good decisions based on a feeling of popular support that really does not exist. Either the principle of the thing is right or it is wrong, and that is what we have to decide right here in the House. Let us be strong and listen to the conscience of the nation instead of heeding the highpowered and sometimes desperate approaches that minority groups have no doubt made to other members, as they have made them to me. I do not consider this a reform Bill. To me it represents retarded thinking. It suggests that acceptability is respectability. That is what we have been told, but it is not right. I cannot believe there is anything respectable about two males getting together in private to perform indecent acts, which is what the Bill intends to legalise. As I said before, the Bill does not even mention homosexuals, and it would legalise all indecent acts. I cannot be on the side of a Bill that makes such provision, although I believe that the original intention of the promoter of the Bill was quite different. Neither this Bill nor the parent legislation, the Crimes Act, defines such terms as “homosexual offence”, “homosexual acts”, “homosexual molestation”, or “indecency between a man and a boy”. The Bill refers to indecency between consenting males in private, and also to “places of resort” and “premises”. We do not really know what is being referred to when those phrases are used; nor do we know the intention behind their use. The Bill also refers to “place of any kind”. That is too broad for my conscience, and I cannot accept it. It uses the word “prostitute”, a very emotional word these days, and I still do not know, nor does the Crimes Act define, exactly what a prostitute is. The Bill says that these acts can happen in privacy, but what is privacy? The police advise me that they do not know. Is it in a room behind a locked door? Is it in a public toilet behind a locked door? These things are so indefinable, and if we pass this Bill we will put on to our shoulders a burden that will be far worse than the one we carry now. The Bill could not be enforced because it cannot be defined, and this is not acceptable to the majority of New Zealanders, and never will be. I recognise that change must be considered and accepted if we are to progress, but this Bill is a backward step. It is not a recognition of homosexuality as so many other speakers have suggested; it is a licence to commit indecent acts. Change has in many ways led to a better society, a more understanding community, and a happier life for many people, and I believe this is the desire of the mover of this Bill. I respect his desire, but I am afraid that the Bill does not and cannot achieve it. This proposal deals not with homosexuals, but with indecent acts between consenting adults in private. In this unsavoury world people as a whole must retain the basic moral values and selfdiscipline which, whether written into the law or not, are the basis of our ability to live with each other, and with our neighbours, in an orderly and understanding manner. To argue that legality is the same thing as morality, as some people have tried to do tonight, is to join the sick society, and I do not want to be part of it. We must draw the line somewhere, we must stand up and be counted, because there is a big difference between legality and morality. If we accept that difference we build a society, and if we do not we lay the foundation for our own collapse. Any law which proposes to legalise acts between members of our community which are indecent, abnormal, and immoral can be nothing but the forerunner of the cancer that will destroy our community. I will not wear it. History gives us many examples. There is nothing new about this. It has been done before, and it has destroyed before. To weaken public morality must lead to the undermining of the family. Without proper family morality and principles we destroy ourselves. There lies the mental and physical challenge of the future. Do we have moral strength, or do we take the easy way out? It is very easy to say of the principles in this Bill, “Oh, well, nobody will worry. Let's do this.” But we have to be a little bit tougher than that, and we have to decide on harder grounds. Too many people are taking the easy way out tonight. This is not to say that we should not have compassion for our peers. We should always have compassion, but we must never condone anti-social attitudes and actions which undermined the ideals of the past and gamble with the success of the future. I concede that this Bill sets out to treat with compassion those men with homosexual instincts who live in fear of prosecution for actions which to them are normal, but I do not think the Bill achieves that, and that is why I oppose it. It could have been written much better. Medical science has proved that some people are born with these tendencies, and we do not blame them, but this Bill does not deal with compassion. The Bill proves that nature in itself is not perfect, so what else can be? Unfortunately, the people who have been born with those tendencies have been born into a world which rejects such practices. The true and genuine homosexual who is drawn to those of his own sex has my sympathy and understanding and should be compassionately treated by society. This Bill, well-intentioned as it is, not only gives those men freedom from prosecution; it goes much further, in that it opens the floodgates for all males to commit these indecent acts. It legalises indecent acts not only for homosexuals, and I do not think the people of New Zealand want that; it legalises these acts in private— whatever that means—between men who are not necessarily homosexuals, as long as they are over the age of 20, and that’s its weakness. I apologise to my colleague for criticising his Bill so widely, but I have to say what I think, and I know he would not respect me if I did not say it. I do not think this Bill is what we want; I must reject it, and I will subsequently vote against it. It encourages those people on the fringe of a twilight world of crime. I know that homosexual men in our society are a minority, and I believe the Bill sets out to try to help them, but I do not think it does. I admire the courage of the member for Egmont in bringing the Bill into the House. Not many members would have done it, and even though I am against the Bill I congratulate him for having a damn good try.
Dr. WALL (Porirua)—I support the introduction of this Bill, and I sympathise with the member for Egmont for the turmoil he has gone through and for the courage with which he has borne the trials of the last 12 months when he has been carrying this Bill on his back. While I support the introduction of this Bill, and support the aims of the member for Egmont, I have indicated right from my first speech on the subject that I felt the Bill should be amended so that, in achieving the purpose of the member for Egmont, we do not produce a great deal of evil which I am sure he himself does not wish. My attitude remains unchanged. I have listened to the evidence brought before the committee, and I have read a great deal on the subject. I am fortunate that in the course of my professional work I have had reason to treat a not inconsiderable number of these people. Since I have been involved in recent weeks in considerable publicity concerning my intentions in this matter, I have been greatly heartened and considerably comforted by messages from some of the people that I have had the privilege to treat in the past, confirming my belief that my approach to their problem was not misguided. For these reasons I had grounds to examine critically the evidence brought before us, and particularly that which was brought in the guise of either scientific or professional expertise. I was most disappointed in it. I was disappointed in the lack of a dispassionate professional or scientific approach to the subject, and, as I said during the reporting back of this Bill from the committee, it was most disturbing to find representatives of a presumably dispassionate professional body moving from their position, as representing the Psychiatric Association, straight into the chair to represent one of the two most partisan bodies to give evidence before the committee, the Homosexual Law Reform Society. In the course of the evidence brought before the committee I was greatly disturbed by the constant assumption by people who should, professionally and educationally, have known better, that all homosexuals were of one type—that they were a homogenous group whose problems, whose tendencies, and whose difficulties were identical. Now, nothing could be further from the truth, and a moment’s reflection, without any knowledge of this problem but with just a knowledge of human beings, must cause members to realise how absurd that proposition is. Yet that was the basis of a great deal of the scientific evidence put before the committee. When questioned and pushed these people did agree with the known fact— and there are a few known facts about this condition—that there is a spectrum of sexual orientation amongst all humans which ranges from the strongly and conventionally heterosexual to the ineradicably homosexual, to such an extent that the person believes that he is in fact in the wrong shaped body. But in between those two extremes—and, as with all biological ranges, the biggest number lies in the middle—there is a group who may be interested sexually in either sex. Now it is this irrefutable fact—one of the few established facts in this condition—which causes me to take the actions and adopt the attitudes which I have towards this legislation. As far as we do know, we can roughly categorise homosexuals into three broad ascending groups. There are the transsexuals—and present opinion seems to place them at about 1 in 17 of all those with strongly homosexual tendencies— who, no matter what one may do, believe themselves to be in the wrong-sexed body, and have done so for as far as they can remember. Apparently nothing whatsoever can be or has been done to alter their situation, and I doubt if they would want it to be done. But they are a small minority even among homosexuals, and it would be a very great mistake to legislate on the assumption that everyone with homosexual tendencies falls into this group. There are others—probably a bigger percentage, but the numbers are not known —who know very well what sex they are and have no wish to change it, but who do appreciate that the only object which is emotionally satisfying to them in the sexual sense is someone of their own sex; and again this appears to be a fixed attitude. As we move towards the centre of the spectrum there are those who will be most of the time like this, and at other times heterosexually inclined. For that group also, any attempts at alteration of their sexual orientation appears to be ill founded and unavailing. Then there is a bigger group still of those who may find sexual satisfaction in either the contemplation of, approach by, or physical contact with members of both sexes. This group appears to be bigger in numbers among the young, and with established habits the numbers tend to fall off. It does not require any great scientific knowledge to understand the likelihood of this. Any understanding of ordinary human behaviour would indicate to every member of this House the obvious probability of this happening, and in fact the unlikelihood of it being anything but so. If we are interested in any one particular activity, it will diminish our interest in alternative activities. The boy at school who is interested in both cricket and tennis, but finds them to be conflicting interests, will decide on one and will find that his interest in the other sport inevitably waning. That is a characteristic of human activity, and there is no reason at all, no matter what people with scientific degrees may tell us, to suppose that human beings behave differently in their intellectual outlook towards sexual activity than they do towards any other human activity. It is this group in particular that concerns me, and I am sure the great majority of our fellow citizens, too, have sympathy and concern for them. They are a bit bewildered by and have some understanding of those who have no option but to express their sexual interest in their own sex, but they feel that there is in this group, particularly among the teenagers and those whose sexual experience does not go back many years, a considerable number whose sexual approaches can be influenced one way or the other in the same way as they can be interested one way or another in every other human activity. If anybody stands up and says this will not happen in sex, then it is up to that person to prove his opinion. Every one of us knows that the concentration of our activities in one field diminishes our interest in others. Why should this not happen in sex, particularly among those who are known to have a bisexual or unestablished sexual approach? Common sense tells us that it is possible to assist these people, and to influence their sexual interests in a way that will not bring them into conflict with society in their fellowship with men and women. Common sense also tells us that where sexual orientation is not firmly established it can be influenced. The committee was given a good deal of evidence along the lines that there is no scientific evidence to suggest that homosexual attitudes are changed at this or that age. To me that argument is nonsense, because it supposes that the reverse is true: that if there is no scientific evidence to suggest it, then it is not true. When one inquires more deeply into this the so-called scientific evidence, one finds it to be some scientific review that has been done, or some scientific paper that has been published, or some exploration into the subject which has found this or that to be the case. Even in this field there are some things of which so little is known that they are beyond scientific inquiry. To say that nothing is known to prove one point of view, and that therefore the opposite is true, could well be said about mother love. Are there any scientific papers on the possibility that mothers might love their children? I could say, on the basis of this approach, that there is no scientific evidence to prove that mothers love their children, but would anyone believe me? The assumption is that, because there is no such scientific evidence, mothers do not love their children, but we all know that they do. We were subject to this sort of argument in the committee. It was said that there was no scientific evidence to suggest that homosexual tendencies developed after the age of 5 or 6, and so it was assumed that it had been proved they did not. But there was no justification whatever for such an assumption. No one had proved anything either way, but any parent of any child, and anyone who has watched teenagers grow up and noted their attitudes, and the different stages through which they go in their sexual interests, would have reason to doubt any statement that sexual approaches are irrevocably fixed and incapable of change beyond the age of 2 or 3 years. For those reasons I have given notice of my intention to move a further amendment aimed at protecting teenagers from proselytism, which can take the form of an assertion that homosexual behaviour is normal and allied to the protest activities which are so popular among those in their late teens; that it is a legitimate way of sending up authority—an anti-establishment move. I personally received a great deal of evidence that, on this basis, some homosexual groups, with the assistance of misguided teachers, are promoting homosexual activities in secondary schools. There is at present no firm, clear statement on the subject that can be understood and observed by teaching authorities and by parents, and if anyone can tell me any other authority whose opinion of what is right or wrong, or what is lawful or not lawful, would merit the respect and support that Parliament receives, then I would like to hear of it. We have a duty to establish a norm, a standard for those who need protection against involving themselves in homosexual behaviour in the belief that it is an innocent activity that is unlikely to be damaging. This is a normal phase all teenagers pass through. I have sympathy for the member for Stratford, who spoke about his own personal experience. A great number of people have been involved in close all-male societies, particularly those who have been to sea, as I have been myself. Such people have drawn my attention to the absolute necessity of protecting the young, and not just the infants. In earlier times boys went to sea at a much younger age and received no protection, and the continuing disastrous consequences to them became very apparent to some of the people living with them. Experiences, both personal and observed, related to me on numerous occasions by people who have been to sea, encouraged me to take the stand I have taken so publicly on this matter. This stand has been criticised because it is too sweeping. It is intended to be sweeping, because it is intended to be a norm. I realise that it has practical difficulties in its implementation and prosecution. Those practical difficulties very strongly limit the possibility of any widespread prosecutions, but they do give strength to people in responsibility, to parents and school teachers. I think it will be found that this Bill, as I think it should be amended, gives strength to very few groups, but inhibits those who would influence children in this way. I support the measure. I recommend that members study the amendment I have proposed, because it will take the pressure off consenting adults, and at the same time it will protect a section of our community not just from physical violation but from the distorted attitude of mind which promotes an outlook that ultimately will lead to voluntary association, with its disastrous consequences.
Hon. ALLAN McCREADY (Manawatu)—I rise to oppose this measure. I have listened with interest to speakers for and against. I respect the point of view of those who support the Bill in the same way that I hope they will respect mine. This is the second time in 7 years that this matter has come before the House. The first was in 1968 when Sir Arnold Nordmeyer, as he now is, presented a petition on behalf of the New Zealand Homosexual Law Reform Society and 75 others. I was a member of the Petitions Committee which, after hearing all the evidence submitted, reported back with no recommendation—a unanimous decision. After reading the submissions made to the present Petitions Committee I cannot see how the situation has changed since 1968. Some of the printed matter posted to members makes me more than ever convinced that this Bill should not be passed. The personnel of this House has changed, but to my way of thinking the facts have not. I noticed that some ministers of religion have expressed their support for the Bill, but from my observations those ministers do not always express the opinions of a great number of their congregations. Having served for some 5 years in the Army, both in New Zealand and overseas, and in some rather raw countries, I have become a pretty broad-minded sort of person, but when I read some of the writing on homosexuality I wonder where our moral standards are being directed. One piece of writing had the name of the author attached, and I realised he was a member of a section I had commanded. He claimed to be a homosexual and pointed out the advantages of being one, and told the youth of this country what they were missing by not being homosexual. On two occasions during my military career I came across homosexuality, and I can tell the House the effects it had on the morale of the units concerned. On the first occasion, an incident was reported to me in the unit I was attached to. The two guilty parties were sent back to base and were dealt with accordingly, but the effect of the actions of those two people on the morale of the troops was very noticeable. This was repugnant to a well disciplined soldier. It had been a unit with a very high reputation before the incident, but it took some time to return to normal, and all the members of the regiment that I was with will confirm this. When they were on leave in the city they were all very reluctant to give the name of their regiment when asked. On the second occasion two officers were found guilty of the offence. I was returning to New Zealand and I was given the duty of bringing those two officers back. My instructions were that when we were at sea I was to invite those two captains into my cabin, and they were to be reduced to the ranks. Some people might ask why it was done that way. The reason was that knowledge of the matter was to be kept from the rest of the troops; the identity of those two officers was not to be made known. Unfortunately, the information did get out, and I was informed later by officers of that unit that there was an undercurrent of disrespect for officers which took a long time to remedy. I know that supporters of this Bill will say that members of the armed forces and the police have been excluded from its provisions, but that removal strengthens my opposition to it. I say that if it is morally wrong for members of the defence forces and the police, it is wrong for the civilian sector too. I hope we never live in a society which has two laws, one for defence personnel and another for the civilian sector. When this Bill was reported back the member for Waitemata quoted the Prime Minister of Canada, Mr Pierre Trudeau, as saying words to this effect: “We have no right to pry into the bedrooms of our nation.” I see no reason why we should take the opinion of the Prime Minister of Canada, or of any other country for that matter, as an example of what our standards of morality should be. He would be no more of an authority than anyone else. If we took this to its logical conclusion, the bedrooms of our nation could become dens of iniquity, where anything could be done. Some will say that times have changed, but the physical construction of the human being has not changed. Perhaps the ways of some people have, but it is not the role of this or any other Parliament to give encouragement to rising generations to think of homosexuality as a normal activity. Some say that freedom of speech and action is an integral part of democracy, but so-called democracy can be allowed to go so far that it destroys itself. We could finish up with a society surviving on the laws of the jungle. As members of this House we have a responsibility to uphold the standards of our people and to legislate to make our society one which sets an example to the world. We have done this in many fields of endeavour. I make a plea to all members of this House to do this in the interests of the moral well-being of future generations. I intended to vote against this Bill, but unfortunately I will be absent from the House so I shall register my opposition in the Committee stage.
Hon. M. RATA (Minister of Maori Affairs)—I move, That the question be now put.
Mr SPEAKER—No, I am not prepared to accept the motion. Although it is a private member's Bill there is a lot of interest in the matter.
Air Commodore GILL (East Coast Bays)—I will not keep the House very long with my comments. My feeling has not changed since I spoke on the introduction of the Bill, but I have in the meantime studied all the information and the reports that have been made available. I have listened with great interest to the speeches made tonight by members of integrity, and I find that I stand almost exactly where the member for Kapiti stands. I do not propose to repeat his arguments, which he gave in some detail, but, unlike him, I do not intend to abstain from voting. I cannot accept that homosexual acts are normal. I would not want to comment on the immorality or otherwise of those acts because—and I say this with some humility, and I am not used to speaking in this House in a humble sort of way—I do not want to judge other people's morals. By my standards homosexual acts are immoral, but I do not want to judge other people. It is a great pity that the legislation in question was ever put on the statute book. I do not think it should have been, but since it is there I think it should be retained as the lesser of two evils. Its removal at this juncture would tend to give the seal of respectability and to suggest that the establishment now thinks that homosexual behaviour is normal and quite acceptable in society. I do not intend to do anything that could be interpreted in any way as meaning that. Some remarks have been passed tonight about the situation in the armed forces. I spent 33 years in the armed forces and I never saw any homosexuality. I do not think a homosexual could exist in the armed forces. That would be very exceptional. Perhaps it could happen in wartime when people are drafted, but in a peacetime situation, when people are free to join or not to join the armed forces, homosexuals do not join. They could not exist in the barrack blocks. If we pass this Bill we will be making homosexual acts legal, and then there will be some homosexuality in the armed forces. I do not know how other men could live with it. It would be crippling for the armed forces to allow this law to be passed. I do not think I want to say anything more. My position has always been clear. That does not mean I have not continued to examine the arguments put forward, but I just cannot support this Bill.
Dr ROGERS (Hamilton East)—I cannot altogether agree that homosexuality is just a medical problem susceptible to a medical cure. Like all forms of self-indulgence it is a moral problem, but I agree there is little evidence that it is any worse than many of the more acceptable forms of self-indulgence. Society is apt to expect, and even enforce, conformity in many unexpected directions—even in hair length—but I must confess to finding this form of indulgence peculiarly unattractive. Yet I cannot condone the actions of people who are led by their feelings to conduct campaigns against those who seek to improve matters by removing the offence from the law. Laws do not make people moral. At the very best they can only make up for lack of morality. Like other members, I have received many letters pressing me to support or oppose this Bill, and I wish to comment on only one of them, which was referred to by the member for Waikato. I believe it was a copy of a submission made by the Open Brethren to the select committee, and I comment on it largely because it was one of the few to which I received an acknowledgment of my reply. I hesitate to waste the time of the House with too much of this, except to quote from the letter sent me. “The Bible expressly forbids homosexual acts in any circumstances, as the following quotations illustrate: Leviticus 18, 22: ‘You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination.’ Leviticus 20, 13: “If a man lie with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination, and they shall be put to death. Their blood is upon them.’” I shall omit the next one, but the letter goes on to Corinthians, and I think this is important: “Do not be deceived: neither the immoral, nor the idolators, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor robbers will inherit the Kingdom of God.” I think there is a difference here, because it immediately shows that this sin or crime, or whatever you like to call it, is not really in the unique category which many would like to see it put in, and which the existing law puts it in. The letter goes on to say: “We believe these standards should be absolute for Christians in a Christian country.” I raise this perhaps largely because this attitude has not been mentioned, although the whole subject has been covered pretty widely. I replied by asking what an absolute Christian standard is, and suggesting that surely it is to love what is good, and your neighbour as yourself. I also pointed out that we are warned not to judge others lest we be judged too. Why single out this particular sin as more especially deserving of retribution than any other? In my letter I said that St Paul, in the passage I have just quoted, does not differentiate between idolators, adulterers, and so on. I said we no longer cut off the hands of thieves, burn heretics, or stone adultresses, and I raised the interesting issue of why adultresses are treated differently from adulterers, and were even in those days. Is it, I asked, because our humanity has become more nearly perfect? Perhaps it has improved a little bit. Perhaps it is because our behaviour is a little more godly than the reverse that there is the slight modification of the New Testament law on the Old Testament law. Past and present changes in law, I suggested, did not make any of these forms of behaviour less immoral than they ever were, but true morality lies in wanting and choosing to be good—not in being forced to be good. Example and loving care are our strongest weapons against crime—not punishment, which tends to be destructive of humanity, and not only destructive of humanity, but provocative of sympathy. Public opinion is probably the harshest of all penalties against these crimes. It is not the crime itself which has been softening public opinion to it so much as the fact that the law has seemed to be unfair, and perhaps even unjust, in its implementation. I shall not mention all the points made in the acknowledgment except to state this rather hard line: “We do not believe that the code handed down on Mount Sinai was evolved by Moses himself, but it represents God's standard and does not permit of any deviation.” I think that really just misses the point that there has been some Christian acknowledgment that homosexuality should not be treated exactly as it was on Old Testament standards. The writer also implied that the Bill now before us condones homosexual acts and makes them seem to be normal. I think that is a common misapprehension about this measure. In fact, in many ways it proposes more vigorous action against homosexual assault or the involvement of minors than does the existing law. It will not provide perfect law. I do not believe any human law can be perfect, and I 13–Vol. 399 readily admit that I am not able to suggest any very effective improvements that can be made, but I will not vote against it on that count because it is such an obvious improvement on the law it will replace. In many ways I should have liked to feel I could support the amendment that the member for Porirua proposes to move. Of all crimes I believe none is worse than that which subverts the young, the weak, or the ignorant. However, I doubt whether the amendment would really have the desired effect. Certainly it runs strongly counter to the concept of proper and equal access to all relevant information, without which no individual can arrive at a proper conclusion on a matter such as this, and without which there can be no true personal morality. I sympathise with the member for Porirua in his efforts, but I believe the results he desires can be secured by means other than writing that provision into the law. I support the Bill and I congratulate the member for Egmont on his courage in bringing it forward.
Hon. L. W. GANDAR (Ruahine)—I find it very difficult to comprehend homosexuality. It is something that is outside my personal understanding. Nevertheless, I support this Bill for several reasons: first, because I believe it is time we examined this legislation on humanitarian grounds. As has been said so often tonight, there is a need to approach this problem with compassion. Secondly, I support the Bill because it eliminates what has hitherto been a discriminatory difference between the homosexual acts of men and women. If the argument is valid in law that women should not be outside the law in the practice of homosexuality, then equally I think the argument should apply to men. Thirdly, it is widely known and acknowledged that the law has been enforced, at least in the last 10 or 15 years, haphazardly and erratically. Fourthly, a transient homosexual is far less likely to seek help from the law; the law stands as a barrier to his seeking that help. Assistance cannot be given or sought because of the fear of the law—and I make a very strong distinction between assistance and treatment.
Debate interrupted. The House adjourned at 10.30 p.m.