Advocates celebrate 20 years since UN condemned criminalisation of homosexuality
LGBTI advocates are celebrating the 20th anniversary of a landmark decision by the UN Human Rights Committee which condemned Tasmania’s laws criminalising homosexuality on April 11 1994.
The UN decision on the case, Toonen v Australia, led to the enactment of a federal privacy law and the repeal of the offending Tasmanian statutes. It has also been the basis for gay law reform in other countries, with the UN Human Rights Commissioner, Navi Pillay, describing it as “a watershed with wide-ranging implications for the human rights of millions of people”.
"It's wonderful to look back after twenty years to see how laws and attitudes have changed for the better thanks to the UN's decision against Tasmania's former laws," said Nick Toonen who brought the case before the UN. "I'm prouder than ever of the Tasmanian UN decision."
It’s a sentiment shared by Tasmanian Gay and Lesbian Rights Group spokesperson, Rodney Croome, who commented, "The UN decision turned Tasmania around with our state not only decriminalising homosexuality but going on to adopt Australia's most progressive anti-discrimination and relationship laws."
Croome added: "The anniversary of the decision is a reminder that there are still human rights violations that Australia can and should act against, including the exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage."
Today Nick Toonenand Olivia Ball launched a new human rights organisation, Remedy Australia, which aims to ensure all UN Human Rights decisions against Australia have successful outcomes.