A leading light in the massively contentious battle to decriminalise sexual intimacy between gay and bisexual men says the New Year's Honour announced today for gay equality Fran Wilde is "overdue" and "greatly deserved."
As a greenhorn MP Wilde was the Parliamentary face of the campaign and was repeatedly personally targeted by opponents of Homosexual Law Reform, particularly evangelical Christians. She has been made a Companion of the Queen's Service Order with her commitment to HLR highlighted in the citation for the honour.
"I'm absolutely delighted because I can't think of anyone more deserving of such an honour," Bruce Kilmister says.
Kilmister was one of a core group of Aucklanders who, along with groups in other main centres, funded and guided the campaign and took considerable personal risks to help push the landmark legislation through. He was heckled for being a gay recipient from amongst the audience at Government House in 2001 when he was made a Member of the NZ Order of Merit.
"While many now won't remember it, we went through two years of absolute hell trying to get that piece of legislation through the house," he recalls. "It was a time when not only was everyone fraught and distressed but the whole country seemed to be divided on the issue. Nothing since the 1981 South African rugby tour of New Zealand caused such social dissention as did the Homosexual Law Reform Bill. So I think Fran's honour is well overdue and she is greatly deserving of it."