TODAY |

Thirty years on, campaign to pardon gay men convicted under restrictive laws continues

It's been 30 years since the Homosexual Law Reform Act was passed, but people convicted under the old laws still carry the weight of having a black mark against their name.

Thirty years on, much has been achieved in NZ, but all parties agree more tolerance is needed. Source: 1 NEWS

It's believed around 400 men were convicted of 'homosexual acts' before the law change decriminalised sexual contact between men, on the back of Fran Wilde's private members bill.

"That law was a great stain on our country and left for those people who were convicted a real blight on their lives," says Green MP Kevin Hague.

Wiremu Demchick started a petition to get the men pardoned.

"Pardoning them would - I would think it would be significant to them - if in a bittersweet way."  

Scott Kennedy and Malcolm Vaughan run a popular gay bar in Wellington.

Three decades ago, Mr Kennedy remembers his teacher getting into trouble for allowing a debate on the reform bill.

"The teacher very nearly lost his job over it because you weren't allowed to discuss the law reform in classes in school."

New Zealand is now one of 15 countries to legalise same-sex marriage.

In 30 years much has been achieved, but all agree more tolerance is needed.