Cook Islands looks to decriminalise homosexuality


Legislation is being considered in the Cook Islands that could see sections removed from a 1969 Act that criminalise consensual sex between two men.

The proposed Crimes Bill 2017 was presented after the Cook Islands Parliament established a committee to review public submissions about amending the Crimes Act.

Some religious leaders are opposing the change.

”If a person chooses to live a homosexual, bisexual, or transgender lifestyle, he or she is choosing a perversion of God’s good design,” claimed Tevai Matapo a senior church minister.

“The only hope for the abolition of the hatred and mistreatment of any group of people, including those engaged in sexual sin, is in submitting to God and being washed clean by Jesus Christ,” he said.

The Te Tiare Association is the Cook Islands’ only LGBTI group.

Valentino Wichman, who led the group’s submission, has since called on the committee to make sure that there were no other parts of the new bill that would criminalise homosexuality.

“What people tend to forget is that there is a very real personal aspect to this argument of decriminalising homosexuality,” Wichman explained in his submission.

“Everyone has a family member or friend that is lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transsexual, queer or intersex. There are real people affected behind this debate.”

Vanuatu, Fiji, Palau and Nauru have have decriminalised homosexuality.

In Kiribati, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Tonga and Tuvalu, anti-homosexuality law applies only to men.

Homosexuality is illegal in Solomon Islands for both men and women.


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News category: Asia Pacific.

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