Australian State New South Wales Apologizes For Laws Criminalizing Homosexuality 1

Australian State New South Wales Apologizes For Laws Criminalizing Homosexuality

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The leader of Australia’s populous state apologized for the “unforgivable pain” caused by other laws criminalizing homosexuality, several years after gay sex was decriminalized in New South Wales.

Premier Chris Minns said in a speech to the state parliament, “We are here to apologize for every life that was damaged or diminished or destroyed by these unjust laws,” adding that the legislation “should never have existed,”

The state was the final in Australia to formally apologize for laws that legalized gay sex acts after South Australia and Victoria in 2016 and the country’s other states in 2017. Same-sex marriage was legalized in Australia in 2017.

Homosexual acts between gays were decriminalized in New South Wales in 1984, making it the fifth state to follow suit. Sexual acts between women were not a criminal offence in the state. The state recorded multiple “gay hate” deaths in the 1980s, in part because of fear stemming from the AIDS epidemic and hostility.

Australian State New South Wales Apologizes For Laws Criminalizing Homosexuality 2

A legislative change in 2014 permitted men with convictions under the past laws to apply for them to be expunged. Minns claimed that those convicted lost futures, jobs and families as a result.

He shared, “We are very sorry for every person convicted or otherwise who was made to live a smaller life because of these laws,”

“People who reached the end of their days without ever voicing who they really were, without ever experiencing the greatest of human joys, which is the joy of love, we are sorry,” he added.

Sydney lawmaker Alex Greenwich shared with legislators that he was the only gay member of the New South Wales parliament, including Sydney, including one of only two in the chamber’s history.

He said, “This in itself shows how much work we need to do.”

“My message to my colleagues today will be the same message as the LGBTQ community had 40 years ago. ‘Get out of our bedrooms, get out of our pants and let us live our lives,’” said Greenwich, who has proposed a bill that would prevent teachers and students at private schools from being fired or expelled for coming out.

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