Peters says he voted against homosexual law reform because of HIV/AIDS

A curious story in Stuff:

Thirty years ago if you got HIV it was a case of “you’re dead”, says Winston Peters.

If MPs had known in the 80s there would be such an advance in medicine for treating HIV Peters reckons they would never have voted against a bill to legalise gay sex.

On July 9,1986, the NZ First leader was one of 44 MPs who voted against the Homosexual Law Reform bill, which passed with 49 votes in favour and legalised consensual sex between men aged 16 and older.

Yep Winston voted for consensual sex between adults to remain a crime.

As for whether Peters would have voted differently if he knew then what he knows now – he says he doesn’t deal in hypotheticals.

Other MPs have said they regret how they voted.  John Banks voted for same sex marriage despite having campaigned against homosexual law reform. Peters has an inability to ever say he was wrong on something.

Looking back on that night Peters says “the mass majority who were against the change were facing the crisis of Aids, which at the time had no solution or answer to it and looked like a massive problem was coming and the change in law would facilitate that”.

The criminalisation of sodomy of course occurred long long before HIV was known about.

But Labour deputy leader Annette King who supported the bill, which came up one year after she first joined Parliament, says she never heard the medical argument.

“I’m not saying it wasn’t Winston’s reason as I can’t recall his comments at the time but I don’t believe that was what drove people to oppose it.”

She said the crux of the issue for MPs on the other side of it was “straight out opposition to ”.


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