Story: Gay men’s lives

Petition against law reform

In 1985 the Coalition of Concerned Citizens organised a petition opposing the Homosexual Law Reform Bill, which organisers claimed had received more than 800,000 signatures. The group believed that decriminalising gay sex would lead to moral decline and the spread of AIDS. This clip shows them presenting the petition to sympathetic MPs on the steps of Parliament. National MP Norman Jones asks Parliament not to legalise 'sodomy', while the Bill's sponsor, Labour MP Fran Wilde, suggests the petition's supporters were 'the perverts' – highlighting the emotional intensity of the issue. Parliament passed the bill, and many of the signatures on the petition were later discredited.

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How to cite this page:

Chris Brickell, 'Gay men’s lives - Gay activism and law reform', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 4 July 2020)

Story by Chris Brickell, published 5 May 2011, reviewed & revised 11 May 2018