24 Aug 2015

Cooks anti-homosexual laws targeted

8:06 am on 24 August 2015

A Cook Islands sexual diversity group is positive it can push through an amendment to decriminalise homosexuality.

Homosexual acts in the country are punishable with a prison term of up to five years.

Te Tiare Association supports lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and says the newly-launched United Nations Pacific Free and Equal campaign has sparked a conversation about acceptance.

A Pacific Free and Equal campaign video

Its secretary, Valentino Wichman, says there has been minimal opposition to its plans to repeal laws that criminalise homosexuality.

"It has mostly been positive feedback on decriminalising homosexuality but there are still people out there that have a few issues around it and I think it's due to the misconceptions around decriminalising and marriage equality and also the distinction around religion."

Valentino Wichman says drafting a proposal to decriminalise homosexuality is its first task, with marriage equality planned for the future.

The Prime Minister Henry Puna has said that marriage equality is not an issue in the Cook Islands, and there is no need to deal with it yet.

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