OPINION: You have to admire the consistency of the Salvation Army. They almost never fail to be on the wrong side of a social issue.
In the heated debate surrounding the 1986 Homosexual Law Reform Bill, the Salvation Army took the humane approach that, although homosexuality was “deviant”, a homosexual orientation should itself not be punished so long as no “covert acts” resulted. Medical and psychiatric treatment were preferable.
The Sallies opposed the bill and had a key part in obtaining 800,000 signatures to make their point; a remarkable achievement given the population was only a little over 3 million at the time.
New Zealand wasn’t an especially liberal place in 1986, at least when it came to the decriminalisation of homosexuality, although opinion polls did show growing support in favour of the reform.
Opposition to the change was ferocious, but Jim Anderton had the right answer to those preaching their version of Christianity when he told the house.