Backdown on same-sex law reform

Saturday November 02, 2019 Written by Published in Local
Tingika Elikana says: “If you remove those provisions then you more or less encourage it to be in the open.” 19040703 Tingika Elikana says: “If you remove those provisions then you more or less encourage it to be in the open.” 19040703

Criminal ban on sex between men is to be retained – and extended to women. 

MPs have done a u-turn on promises to decriminalise homosexuality, under pressure from the churches.

Two years ago, in a step welcomed by many people including the gay and lesbian communities, Parliament had removed “indecent acts between men” and sodomy from a draft Crimes Bill.

Yesterday, select committee chairman Tingika Elikana said they would reinstate the clause.

In fact, in an unintended consequence of moves to make legislation gender-neutral, the anticipated effect of the bill will be to also criminalise sex between women, as well as between men.

The select committee’s recommendation to Parliament would reinstate a penalty of up to five years’ imprisonment, and a sentence of seven years’ prison for consensual sodomy.

Elikana said the proposed removal of these criminal penalties had led to an outcry from some members of the community, prompting the select committee to reinstate the same-sex ban.

Cook Islands is a signatory of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex.

But people had the opportunity to talk about the Bill, Elikana said, and they submitted their concerns.

“There were provisions (on homosexuality) removed from the draft Bill and people said they have got some concerns about it and the committee has taken that into account,” Elikana said.

“One of the arguments surrounding it is people are saying there is no one charged with those kind of offences like homosexuality, witchcraft, sodomy and all that.

“But they say on the other side of the coin, maybe because those provisions are there in the Act that’s why nobody is doing it, so they are doing it in the privacy of their homes which is another argument.

“If you remove those provisions then you more or less encourage it to be in the open because now there is no law that says that kind of conduct is prohibited.”

Therefore, the committee decided to reinstate the bans on homosexual acts and sodomy, Elikana said.

Read more: Editorial: The law of unintended perversity

 

The committee was of the view that the country was not ready yet to move with the rest of the world on such matters. “The provisions of the 1969 Act are more or less retained in respect of those sexual related offences,” he said.

But he insisted there was progress: “We are still going forward in those matters, nobody has been prosecuted and I don’t think anybody will be prosecuted but having that in the law books is probably a deterrent to people to come out in the open and be open about it.”

Te Tiare Association, the Cook Islands’ only lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender (LGBTQI) community group, had previously welcomed the decision to decriminalise homosexuality.

The association yesterday said they would contact Parliament for confirmation on the recommendation before making any comment on it.

Te Tiare Association’s Valentino Wichman, in a submission to the previous select committee, said they had experienced threats from individuals and groups in Cook Islands who misunderstand their campaign.

Yesterday’s decision was made by a select committee comprised of Selina Napa, Tetangi Matapo, William Heather, Tereapii Maki-Kavana and Patrick Arioka.

They expect the Bill to come before Parliament for its final reading in February next year.

9 comments

  • Comment Link Metua Charlie Thursday, 07 November 2019 02:08 posted by Metua Charlie

    Marcus, can you elaborate more on your statement regarding the great punishment on the Island of Manihiki? What did cause this?? Thank You Ra..

  • Comment Link Anonymous Wednesday, 06 November 2019 15:29 posted by Anonymous

    This is extremely SICK!

    This is YOUR people. You are willing to send YOUR people to jail for being who they want to be?
    Stop bringing the Lord and Christianity into this - it has nothing to do with him - it's about you not being comfortable with the idea!

    You are all crazy if you think your people would stand together and support this.
    You might not know but we already have a BIG group of people that does not agree! If this LAW is confirmed - all I can say is GOOD LUCK because it's NOT going to end there.

  • Comment Link Human rights Tuesday, 05 November 2019 20:48 posted by Human rights

    “If you remove those provisions then you more or less encourage it to be in the open because now there is no law that says that kind of conduct is prohibited.”

    With the SAME reason CHRISTIANS are persecuted in muslim countries! Is this ok? Really?
    If christian people want to put gay people in prison, then why should I have compassion when christian people are persecuted?

  • Comment Link I strongly take issue with those individuals who are using their faith to justify their hatred and bigotry, the core message of Christianity is Love ❤️ and Tolerance, those of us in the LGBTQIA Community around the world were created this way, sexual orie Monday, 04 November 2019 16:32 posted by I strongly take issue with those individuals who are using their faith to justify their hatred and bigotry, the core message of Christianity is Love ❤️ and Tolerance, those of us in the LGBTQIA Community around the world were created this way, sexual orie

    Message

  • Comment Link God have spoken. Monday, 04 November 2019 04:12 posted by God have spoken.

    This law been round before mankind. I have never known any other country as religious as the cook lslands, mainly Rarotonga. And from all walks of life, so to speak.

  • Comment Link We need to go back to Gods law, His ten commandment. If we dont remember Sodom and Gomorah. We will think that these acts a just the normal way of life. Mea akama. Decisions makers of these wrong doings a an abomination before God which is more important Sunday, 03 November 2019 10:38 posted by We need to go back to Gods law, His ten commandment. If we dont remember Sodom and Gomorah. We will think that these acts a just the normal way of life. Mea akama. Decisions makers of these wrong doings a an abomination before God which is more important

    Jesus is coming soon and this world will deny Him and these acts are full force part of the chaos of this world. The consequences of wrong doing is people will go against your decision or choices of those acts.

  • Comment Link Mii Daniela Sunday, 03 November 2019 09:56 posted by Mii Daniela

    I will support the committee against the practice of immorality of delete men marry men an lesbian as well. I was one of the protest against the homosexual reform bill 1985 here in NZ. Today NZ is reaping the diesease these people caused tax payers money to buy medical medicines fr their cure
    No doctor or medical professionals wants to work within their clinic hence they protesting to govt more funding fr medicines. Even though our protest failed lack of petitions to parliament God never fail He took over the authority to return back to them what they deserved by this dieases upon them. Pls Elikana an the committees save our country Cook Islands bless u all
    Or by the way the previous PM Bill English resigned prior to that demand upon him because of his faith in God an he was scared of God making that decision. Bless u all

  • Comment Link The Reverend Mary Nicholas Saturday, 02 November 2019 17:06 posted by The Reverend Mary Nicholas

    This is a shameful decision ! This does not represent the Gospel of Jesus!

  • Comment Link Marcus Saturday, 02 November 2019 14:25 posted by Marcus

    Kia Orana,

    Fully support the Govt in this issue.

    Our country is a small nation and accepted the principles of Christianity and we are truly blessed in resources not found in any part of the world.

    The bible reminds us "What we sow, we will also reap" - It simply means, if we allow this law of homosexuality into our country, there will be a great judgment and anger of the Lord will be unleashed onto our small nation.

    Look around the world, there is more disaster than before cause of Govt's allowing evil into their nation.

    Ask yourself, why has our small nation survived all these natural disasters such as hurricanes? We survived because of the faith of our people in God, not sin.

    Remember the great punishment on the island of Manihiki? What did cause this???

    If we accept this Universal Declaration of Human Rights into our country, let us then ask, where is God rights who is the creator of all things and our life.

    God bless

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