Despite ties to New Zealand, the Cook Islands will not proceeding with legalizing gay marriage
The prime minister of the Cook Islands, Henry Puna, said they will not be following New Zealand into legalizing gay marriage, despite the islands ties to the Pacific nation.
Puna said the Cook Islands ‘Christian values’ and ‘tradition’ prevent it from adopting marriage equality, Radio New Zealand International reports.
The Cook Islands, a nation of 20,000 people over 15 major islands, are self-governing in free association with New Zealand. Its citizens are given New Zealand nationality.
The Crimes Act 1969 criminalizes consensual sex between men in the Cook Islands, punishable by up to seven years in prison, and same-sex marriage was specifically legislated against in the Marriage Amendment Act 2000.
New Zealand became the 13th country in the world, and first in the Pacific Asia region, to legalize same-sex marriage on 17 April 2013.