Laws

COOK ISLANDS

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DiscriminationLegislation/Cases/References
See also: [MARRIAGE]
1.

National

On 23 November 2015, the Aronga Mana traditional leaders were reported to have unanimously forbidden a local same-sex couple from renewing their vows on a Rarotonga beach [R1.1].

R1.1 TVNZ: Local same-sex couple blocked from renewing vows on Cook Islands beach 23 NOV 15
Homosexuality, Sodomy Legislation/Cases/References
1.

National

The law in Cook Islands prohibits consensual sex between male couples [L1.2], [R1.1].

The Crimes Act 1969 provides -

Section 154. Indecency between males

"(1) Every one is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years who, bring a male,-
(a) Indecently assaults any other male; or
(b) Does any indecent act with or upon any other male; or
(c) Induces or permits any other male to do any indecent act with or upon him.

(2) No boy under the age of fifteen years shall be charged with committing or being a party to an offence against paragraph (b) or paragraph (c) of subsection (1) of this section, unless the other male was under the age of twenty-one years.

(3) It is not defence to a charge under this section that the other party consented.

Section 155. Sodomy

(1) Every one who commits sodomy is liable-
(a) Where the act of sodomy is committed on a female, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding fourteen years;
(b) Where the act of sodomy is committed on a male, and at the time of the act that male is under the age of fifteen years and the offender is of over the age of twenty-one years, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding fourteen years;
(c) In any other case, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding seven years.

(2) This offence is complete upon penetration.

(3) Where sodomy is committed on any person under the age of fifteen years he shall not be charged with being a party to that offence, but he may be charged with being a party to an offence against section 154 of this Act in say case to which that section is applicable.

(4) It is no defence to a charge under this section that the other party consented" [R1.1].

L1.2 PacLII: Crimes Act 1969 (Accessed 29 APR 13)
R1.1 ILGA: State-Sponsored Homophobia 16 MAY 12
Marriage Legislation/Cases/References
1.

National

In 2007, the Marriage Amendment Act 2007 further amended the Marriage Act 1973 providing:

2. Marriage between persons of same gender prohibited - The principal Act is amended by inserting after section 15 the following-

"15A. Marriage between persons of same gender prohibited - (1) No person shall be permitted to marry another person who is of the same gender as him or herself.

(2) For the purposes of subsection (1) a person who has been born as a male or as a female as the case may be, shall be deemed for the purposes of this Act always to be of that gender, notwithstanding that he or she may have undergone surgical or other medical treatment to give that person the physical characteristics of the opposite gender."

3. Repeal - The Marriage (Amendment) Act 2000 is repealed.


In 2000, the Marriage Amendment Act 2000 amended the Marriage Act 1973 to disallow men from marrying men and women from marrying women [L1.4], [L1.3], [R1.1].


On 23 November 2015, the Aronga Mana traditional leaders were reported to have unanimously forbidden a local same-sex couple from renewing their vows on a Rarotonga beach [R1.2].

On 29 April 2013, Prime Minister Henry Puna was reported to have said that same-sex marriage would not be allowed in the Cook Islands. The Cook Islands are an independent, self-governing nation though retaining New Zealand citizenship [R1.1].

L1.4 PacLII: Marriage Amendtment Act 2007 (Accessed 29 APR 13)
L1.3 PacLII: Marriage Amentment Act 2000 (Accessed 29 APR 13)
R1.2 TVNZ: Local same-sex couple blocked from renewing vows on Cook Islands beach 23 NOV 15
R1.1 GayNZ: Cook Islands will not follow NZ's gay marriage lead 29 APR 13

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