Cook Islands Considering De-Criminalizing Homosexuality
Sometimes, we forget that we are blessed. While some of us reading this post have moved on to lesser problems, there are some who are still bullied and attacked for being gay.
Even worse, while some of us fight for the right to marry, there are still multiple countries out there where it is illegal to be gay. And in some countries the punishment is death.
The Cook Islands is one such location where homosexuality is illegal (though not to death). That said, that fact may be changing soon.
That’s right, the government of the Cook Islands is considering getting rid of its laws condemning homosexuality.
At the moment, the Cook Islands’ 1969 Crimes Act states that “indecent acts” between two men and “consensual sodomy” can amount to five to seven years in prison.
That said, the nation has advanced to the point that these laws no longer fit the cultural climate of the country and its people. In fact, there are religious groups backing the bill that’s attempting to get rid of these laws.
The bill is trying to receive public submissions before going back to parliament later this year.
One religious group that is backing the bill is led by Tevai Matapo, a senior church minister and the president of the Religious Advisory Council.
Matapo stated to Cook Islands News that he believes in the New Testament’s message of love the sinner but hate the sin.
While there are certainly problems with that message, if it helps to create a better atmosphere for LGBTQ people in the Cook Islands, perhaps it can be used. For now.
In addition, there are other groups trying to push the bill forward such as Te Tiare Association, an LGBTQ organization on the nation.
Valentino Wichman, a member of the association, placed one of the bill's submissions and said:
“What people tend to forget is that there is a very real personal aspect to this argument of decriminalizing homosexualit. 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.”
The bill has not been passed yet, but it is being passed around. The bill is on its way to the country’s parliament and to helping LGBTQ people throughout the nation.
Let’s keep our fingers crossed and hope that it’s a smooth ride.