Salient: Victoria University Students' Paper. Vol. 30, No. 10. 1967.
Law needs humanising
Law needs humanising
Homosexual Law reform was highlighted by the recent decision of Mr. H. J. Evans, SM, to revoke convictions for homosexual acts of two Christchurch men. A discharge was made under Section 42 of the Criminal Justice Act.
The learned Magistrate emphasised that the acts took place in private between fully consenting adults.
Movement of "informed and responsible public opinion" in this country, coupled with the changing law in England, were cited in support of the decision.
Though it is doubtful that decisions should be made on the basis of changing public opinion, or law in other countries, the humanism must be applauded.
Homosexuality is classified in the International Classification of Diseases and Disorders as a behaviour disorder. Experts tend to agree that it is a psychosexual state resulting from varied causes, generally beyond the homosexual's control.
Social upbringing figures high on any casual list.
In the last issue Salient published an article by the NCC chaplain, Rev John Murray, which urges the Church to find a way for the homosexual "to enjoy the companionship and love of another person which God desires for everyone."
An article in this issue by the Student Counsellor, Dr. A. J. W. Taylor, suggests where society condemns adult homosexuals, "it may be using them as scapegoats."
Any suggestion that homosexuality is destructive of social standards may be discounted. In France, Italy, Belgium, and many other countries, law does not seek to forbid homosexual behaviour —there have been no dire consequences.
It is unfortunate that some high ranking members of our police force do not recognise this.
Evidence suggesting homosexuality is not a perversion is incontrovertible. Society should accept it as a mere abnormality not to be punishable by law.
If such a view is unacceptable at least admit that homosexual behaviour between consenting adults is a matter of private morality. So private in fact, that the law has no business in interfering.
Let us hope that Parliament will act quickly to humanise the law.