28 May 2003

equal age of consent for gay males in NSW

A Bill equalising the age of consent for gay males in New South Wales at 16 years was passed last night, bringing it in line with heterosexuals and in all other states in Australia.

The NSW Parliament has passed a Bill equalising the age of consent for gay males at 16 years, in line with their lesbian and heterosexual peers in every other Australian state. The Bill passed both houses of parliament with overwhelming majorities.

At 9.24pm on Monday night, the Legislative Council voted 23 to 16 to pass the bill generating cheers and applause from a packed public gallery.

"Tonight, the NSW Parliament finished the job it started almost 20 years ago," said The NSW Gay & Lesbian Rights Lobby spokesperson Robert McGrory in a press release. "Homosexuality has finally been fully decriminalised in NSW."

"Victorian attitudes have no place in 21st Century Australia," said fellow GLRL spokesperson Somali Cerise. "Young gay men in NSW have today been freed from the shackles of prejudice."

"Despite catching up with the rest of the country with a uniform age of consent, lesbians and gay men are still not equal before the law at either a state or federal level," said Cerise.

"The imperative for NSW is now to become the premier state and lead the push for equal rights. At the same time, we must continue to challenge discrimination at work, at school, at home and in every aspect of our lives," added McGrory.