NEW DELHI — Supreme Court of India has struck down the colonial-era law that made homosexual sex punishable by up to 10 years in prison. This is a landmark victory for LGBTQ rights in the world’s largest democracy.
Not only did the court rule in favor of LGBTQ rights but it was a unanimous decision. All five Supreme Court justices ruled that the law was used as a weapon by conservatives and religious groups to harass members of India’s LGBTQ community and resulted in discrimination.
Following the historic ruling, supporters of the ruling were seen waving the official LGBTQ flag outside the courthouse.
India’s now over turned law was known as Section 377. It stated that “Intercourse between members of the same sex was against the order of nature.”
The five petitioners who challenged the anti-LGBTQ law said stated in their arguments that it was discriminatory. It led to gays living in fear of being harassed and prosecuted by police every day.
One of the five petitioners, Arvind Datar, said in his argument to the court that the penal provision was unconstitutional because it provides for the prosecution and sentencing of consenting adults.
It has been a ping pong judicial fight as a New Delhi High Court in 2009 declared Section 377 unconstitutional. However that ruling was overturned by three Supreme Court justices in 2013 on the grounds that amending or repealing the law should be left to Parliament.
But lawmakers in most governments in this world failed to take action on Section 377 and in July the government told the Supreme Court to give a ruling in the case.
Over the past decade, the LGBTQ community has seen a small gain of acceptance and tolerance in parts of deeply conservative India. However this is still centralized in the major cities.
Congratulations to the LGBtQ community in India for helping to make history for gay rights.
Article by: Paul Goldberg, Staff Writer
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