LGBTQ+ activists in the Cook Islands are celebrating a historic victory after the Crimes (Sexual Offences) Amendment Bill 2023 was passed in the country’s Parliament.
The island country – which is located in the South Pacific – previously prohibited so-called “indecent acts between males” as part of their 1969 Crimes Act.
Although the legislation was rarely enforced, it did carry a prison sentence of up to 10 years. This new bill – which will come into effect on 1 June – removes the clause, effectively decriminalising homosexuality in the country.
The amended bill also provides improved protections for victims of sexual abuse, assault, and rape, among other crimes. Cook Islands Prime Minister, Mark Brown, welcomed the result saying that “today is an exceptionally good day to be the Prime Minister”.