The Cook Islands have reversed their 2017 decision to decriminalize homosexuality. Given that they are a self-governing territory of NZ, LGBT+ advocates in the Cook Islands have turned to New Zealand for help.
The Cooks reinstated a clause into their crimes act, stating that “indecent acts between men” are now illegal, whilst also moving to gender-neutral language. So no gay sex regardless of gender in the Cooks, thank you very much.
Full disclosure here – I’m not a legal expert, and annoyingly, the article I linked above whilst saying that Cook Islanders were pleading for NZ help, made no mention of how NZ could actually help. So I’m not exactly sure what the Cooks’ LGBT+ activists want kiwis to do.
Regardless, the Cook Islands are clearly in the wrong, because ya know, LGBT+ people are – wait for it – people.
I think Stuff’s description of how (lesbian) Labour MP Louisa Wall felt about all of this sums my position up quite well:
Labour MP Louisa Wall, who was part of the party’s Rainbow caucus, said LGBTIQ+ people had a right to exist and should not be criminals.
So what can we do to stand up with our Cook Island whānau in protest of this atrocious law? Well, some have suggested that travelers boycott going to the Cook Islands. Not gonna lie, if enough people actually do boycott the Cook Islands to make a noticeable difference, I’ll be surprised.
Otherwise, you can sign this petition by Cook LGBT+ activist Sonya Temata to protest the law change.
Sadly, on the individual level, I don’t think there is a whole lot that we can do other than not going to the Cooks and signing the petition. But, they are asking NZ for help, so hopefully, the government or businesses can do something to pressure them into backing down on this law change.
I wouldn’t hold my breath, however.
EDIT: After reading No Right Turn’s post on the same matter, as it turns out, we provide 66 million to the Cooks per year, and it’s a full quarter of their government’s budget. So maybe NZ can use that as leverage. Again, I still wouldn’t hold my breath.