5 Nov 2019

Cook Islands retains ban on homosexuality

9:21 am on 5 November 2019
Cook Islands Parliament.

Cook Islands Parliament. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

A criminal ban on sex between men is to be retained in the Cook Islands and extended to women.

The Cook Islands News reports MPs have done a U-turn on promises to decriminalise homosexuality, under pressure from the churches.

Two years ago, Parliament removed "indecent acts between men" from a draft Crimes Bill.

However, a select committee chair, Tingika Elikana, said the clause would be reinstated.

His select committee has recommended Parliament reinstate a sentence of seven years' prison for gay sex.

Extending the ban to gay women is seen as an unintended consequence of moves to make legislation gender-neutral.