Heartfelt plea from first lady

Tuesday November 12, 2019 Written by Published in Local
Lady Tuaine Marsters, patron of Te Tiare Association, makes her submission to the Crimes Bill select committee at the Aotearoa Centre. 19111120 Lady Tuaine Marsters, patron of Te Tiare Association, makes her submission to the Crimes Bill select committee at the Aotearoa Centre. 19111120

Lady Tuaine Marsters offers a powerful voice for equal rights as select committee reconsiders same-sex crime.

 

A respected leader has made an impassioned plea: speaking as a mother, she asked MPs to have the heart to protect Cook Islanders’ equal rights.

Lady Tuaine Marsters spoke as patron of Te Tiara Association – and as the mother of a gay son.

In a submission on same-sex law reform, she emphasised the message of love and acceptance preached in the local churches.

Marsters’ husband is Queen’s Representative Sir Tom Marsters. She said the lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender, queer, intersex (LGBTQI+) community should not be discriminated against, based on their sexuality and choices.

The patron of Te Tiare Association, who made her submission in Maori, asked the committee to have the heart to understand the rights of the LGBT+ community as citizens of the country.

The committee chaired by Tingika Elikana had earlier said it would reinstate provisions that criminalised same-sex relationships in the Crimes Act amendment bill. If accepted by Parliament, this would reinstate a penalty of up to five years’ imprisonment for “indecent acts” between two men, and a sentence of seven years’ prison for consensual sodomy.

But yesterday, after a local and international outcry, the committee sat again to listen to more submissions.

The committee will now consider the new arguments from Te Tiare Association and its supporters, before deciding whether to reverse its original decision.

Te Tiare Association president Valentino Wichman asked the committee to make a rational decision based on the facts and evidence – not be swayed by biases and subjective thinking.

Wichman said criminalising same sex was unconstitutional and discriminatory against the LGBT+ community.

“Human rights are universal,” Wichman said. “Everyone is entitled to the same rights. There are no new rights for LGBT+ people being created: We are simply stating that we should enjoy the same rights as everyone else. We are asking for decriminalising and equality, not marriage.”

University of the South Pacific’s Cook Islands director Dr Debi Futter-Puati also made a submission, as an advisor to Te Tiare Association.

Her argument was based on her doctoral study. In her survey of 674 Cook Islands college students, she said 9.1 per cent identified as LGBT+ and 22.7 per cent “refused or were unsure about” which categories to put themselves into.

Dr Futter-Puati said their unwillingness to identify was likely to have been linked with concern about potential victimisation or discrimination that happens to some members of the LGBT+ community in the country.

Committee chairman Elikana said the majority of the submissions received by them were in support of retaining provisions that criminalises same sex.

He also said the submission time was over and they were in the deliberating stage, hoping to make their recommendation to Parliament by February next year.

 

 

11 comments

  • Comment Link Anthony Sunday, 17 November 2019 01:04 posted by Anthony

    This is a ridiculous, backwards, medieval law. There's a simple solution: If this passes Parliament, then it's time for the Queen to step in. The Queen's Representative should not give royal assent. This would put the Cook Islands in the history books as an example (if not the only one), in modern times, when a constitutional monarch has not given royal assent to legislation. Let's show the world that a monarchy is still relevant in the 21st century.

  • Comment Link Mii Daniela Saturday, 16 November 2019 08:35 posted by Mii Daniela

    100% support to the Committees an Elikana the chairman for the decision there must be a law against such behaviour. Put the law down fr the sake of our country an before God Almighty.

  • Comment Link Maheleone Kamuhemu Wednesday, 13 November 2019 21:10 posted by Maheleone Kamuhemu

    I 100% support you and your decision, I myself have a handful of gay and lesbian friends not only from the cookislands but also Nz. It would be nice too see them have the same respect and gradatude that we get as one..

    Meitaki maata.

  • Comment Link Maheleone Kamuhemu Wednesday, 13 November 2019 21:10 posted by Maheleone Kamuhemu

    I 100% support you and your decision, I myself have a handful of gay and lesbian friends not only from the cookislands but also Nz. It would be nice too see them have the same respect and gradatude that we get as one..

    Meitaki maata.

  • Comment Link Christian and John Wednesday, 13 November 2019 19:07 posted by Christian and John

    Thank you Lady Tuaine Marsters for your support for equal rights for the Cook Islands LGBT community.

  • Comment Link Vera Tapena Wednesday, 13 November 2019 09:52 posted by Vera Tapena

    I also support the TTA Equal rights universal is the bond here for the sake of our children today an tomorrow ,Kia orana,

  • Comment Link Aunty Girl Tuesday, 12 November 2019 18:43 posted by Aunty Girl

    Meitaki atupaka Lady Tuaine Marsters for supporting and speaking up for our LGBT+ Community. I DO NOT AGREE with this hideous law. Our tamariki are humans, it's not their fault. They're still human beings, just an upgrade human version of kind, gentle, fun loving beings. Everyone deserves an equality of life that creates happiness, kindness and colourful memories for loved ones, friends and family. I hope this ridiculous nonsense of a law can be ruled out and let the people of the Cook Islands be whoever makes them happy.

  • Comment Link Teau Teokotai Tuesday, 12 November 2019 15:30 posted by Teau Teokotai

    God made Man to marry Woman, let it be the GOD'S way....

  • Comment Link Tekura Rio Tuesday, 12 November 2019 14:34 posted by Tekura Rio

    Thankyou lady Tuaine Marsters for your support. I do not support the government trying make it a law. They have rights too. They are human beings and its not their fault they are like that. Please abolish that law and let God judge them not you.

  • Comment Link Terresa Andrews Tuesday, 12 November 2019 13:29 posted by Terresa Andrews

    I support TTA, and 100% behind our supporters for the sake of our tamariki and mokopuna. I went through hardship growing up in the Cook Islands, bullied from day 1 at primary through college & adulthood. I'm a woman and classed a woman.



    Kia manuia

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