Thursday, 20 September, 2018

India Overturns Colonial Anti-LGBT Law, Decriminalizing Homosexuality

India's top court to rule on decriminalizing gay sex India's top court decriminalizes homosexual acts
Jay Anderson | 08 September, 2018, 10:33

"Private acts between consenting adults is something which no government should have criminalized as unfortunately we have done", he said.

Suri's dancers wore rainbow makeup and bright Indian outfits to mark the end of the notorious Section 377 of the penal code, which until Thursday banned same-sex acts as "carnal intercourse against the order of nature".

While reading out the verdict on Section 377, Justice Rohinton Nariman, who was part of the 5-member bench in the case, pointed out that since the law came into force in 1861, less than 200 people have been prosecuted under Section 377.

Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said the age-old colonial law was an anachronism in today's modern times and the verdict restores the fundamental rights and negates discrimination based on sexual orientation.

"The law had become a weapon for harassment for the LGBT community", Chief Justice Dipak Misra said as he announced the landmark verdict.

"History owes an apology to members of the community for the delay in ensuring their rights", said Indu Malhotra, who was another judge on the bench.

The court's ruling struck down the law's sections on consensual gay sex, but let stand segments that deal with such issues as bestiality.




He also said that homosexuality can not be regarded as a mental disorder and gays have the right to live with dignity.

United Nations India Thursday lauded the Supreme Court for striking down a "key component" of IPC's Section 377 which criminalises "specific sexual acts between adults" and said the judgement will boost efforts to eliminate stigma and discrimination against LGBTI persons. Social morality can not be used to violate the fundamental rights of even a single individual. But many gay people still face isolation and persecution, and the court's ruling will do little to change life on the ground for millions of people.

"The Bangladeshi LGBT community has gained moral support", said Shahanur Islam, executive director of the Bangladesh Institute for Human Rights.

Seeking decriminalisation of consensual homosexuality, the NGO Naaz Foundation had first challenged Section 377 in the Delhi High Court in 2001.

Respect for each other's rights, and others are supreme humanity.

Sparks says the court ruling will not impact how India Partners presents the gospel in India and will focus on teaching God's commands knowing it impacts the church and the community because Christians can be a model for the community. "We welcome the progressive & decisive verdict from the Supreme Court & hope this is the beginning of a more equal & inclusive society".

Activists in Muslim-majority Bangladesh and Pakistan said they planned to push for reform of the laws that their countries also inherited from colonial Britain.

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