New draft Bill decriminalises homosexuality

Tuesday August 01, 2017 Written by Published in Local

The draft Crimes Bill 2017 decriminalises homosexuality which is an offence in the existing Crimes Act 1969.


The Bill drafted by the Crown Law Office with assistance from the New Zealand parliamentary law drafting office (Parliamentary Counsel Office) does not include parts of sections 154 and 155 of the Crimes Act 1969.

These sections establish any “indecent act” between two men is punishable with up to five years’ imprisonment, and consensual sodomy is punishable with up to seven years.

The Te Tiare Association – the Cook Islands’ only lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender, queer, intersex (LGBTQI) community group – has welcomed this change.

While making their submission to the Parliamentary Select Committee for the Crimes Bill 2017 on Monday last week, association member Valentino Wichman said they support the progressive move by the government in removing “these draconian provisions” which were inherited from the colonial past.

Wichman noted that New Zealand and the United Kingdom have decriminalised homosexuality in their respective jurisdictions.

He added they would like to make sure that there were no other provisions that criminalise homosexuality in the Bill going forward.

“Thank you very much for giving us the opportunity to make our submission of support for amending the provisions which criminalise homosexuality,” Wichman said.

The Te Tiare Association’s submission to the select committee, which has been established to undertake public consultation on the draft Crimes Bill 2017 and report the outcome back to Parliament, was broken into three perspectives.

The first presentation was by Te Tiare Association as the umbrella association for the rainbow community in the Cook Islands followed by the perspective of a parent in support of decriminalisation.

The third perspective was a personal account of what it would mean to decriminalise.

Wichman said in recent years, the issue of homosexuality and the stigma attached with it has become an ever evolving conversation point.

He said even though they have not experienced the extreme acts of violence and murder against the local rainbow community, they still have people living in fear as they feel shunned by their community or family.

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

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


  • Comment Link Daniel Monday, 01 January 2018 08:16 posted by Daniel

    To the poster talking about sins and such. Desert religions were concocted by polygamous slave-owning child murderers and child molesters who would steal underage girls from neighboring tribes to rape and forcibly marry while killing women and male children. Such desert religions are hardly the source for any decency or sexual morality. Stop trying to harm people using these desert religions.

  • Comment Link Josephine Tuesday, 01 August 2017 14:59 posted by Josephine

    As a Christian and a native of my country, sodomy is a sexual sin. "He is not to have sex with her as if he is with a man " is rape and not consentual when someone imposes their will on a persons person even unbeknowest to the person because the perpetrator is a bust-id (busted-identity) than in Christ, is a double-minded man, is not logical and does not know where to put it. Der Or that she is intuitive as put out there and "even for these little ones, you are going to wish you had a millstone around your neck and drownded". Paedophilia. Just because recently '2014' where other countries decriminalised homosexuality, not in Australia. That is good. In other countries, the death penalty. Nothing good comes out of this. What is very good is when you come to Christ.

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