New Zealand’s parliament will on Thursday issue a formal apology to men with historical convictions for gay sex.
Local media reported Justice Minister Amy Adams will move the apology tomorrow during the first reading of a bill, introduced to Parliament in late June, that would allow men charged with consensual homosexual activity under old laws to apply to have those convictions wiped from their criminal records.
The motion will read: “I move that this House apologise to those homosexual New Zealanders who were convicted for consensual adult activity, and recognise the tremendous hurt and suffering those men and their families have gone through, and the continued effects the convictions have had on them.”
Adams said last month that allowing historical convictions for homosexual offences to remain on a person’s criminal record perpetuates the stigma the convictions carry.
“The tremendous hurt and stigma suffered by those who were affected can never be fully undone, but I hope that this Bill will go some way toward addressing that,” she said.
Ms Adams previously explained the exact number of eligible men had been difficult to determine because the historical laws didn’t distinguish between consensual and non-consensual homosexual activity and for this reason a blanket approach to expungement was not possible.
In May, Queensland Premier Anastacia Palaszczuk apologised to gay Queensland men with similar convictions, and the parliament is currently examining a bill that would set up a similar expungement scheme in the state.
In February, the United Kingdom posthumously pardoned thousands of gay men who were convicted for being gay, including playwright Oscar Wilde and World War II codebreaker Alan Turing.