Story: Sexualities

Changing times – civil unions

Changing times – civil unions

In the later 20th century there was more attention to diversity in sexual orientation and to the civil rights of gay men, lesbians and bisexuals. A long campaign for recognition of gay and lesbian relationships led to the passing of the Civil Union Act in 2004. This enabled any couple, whether heterosexual, lesbian or gay, to enter into a formal union, similar in all but name to marriage. One of the first couples to enter a civil union were John Jolliff and Des Smith (front, in white shirts). Here they parade through the streets of Wellington with others celebrating their union, on the way to their reception on 1 May 2005. Same-sex marriage was legalised in 2013.

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Photograph by Ross Setford

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How to cite this page:

Louisa Allen, 'Sexualities - Sexualities – then and now', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 21 June 2024)

Story by Louisa Allen, published 5 May 2011, reviewed & revised 17 Jul 2018