World

India throws out ban on gay sex, sparking celebrations

India throws out ban on gay sex, sparking celebrations

The Supreme Court verdict on gay sex, widely acclaimed as historic, has held out hope of equal and fair treatment for members of the LGBT community (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender).

In her judgment, Justice Malhotra said, "It is declared that insofar as Section 377 criminalises consensual sexual acts of adults (i.e. persons above the age of 18 years who are competent to consent) in private, is violative of Articles 14,15, 19, and 21 of the Constitution".

These petitioners had sought decriminalisation of consensual gay sex between adults by declaring Section 377 as unconstitutional.

The battle to repeal Section 377 began in 2001, when a group called the Naz Foundation challenged it in court.

"We cannot change history but can pave a way for a better future", said Justice D.Y. Chandrachud. Calling it an "unnatural offense" the law made gay sex punishable with up to 10 years in prison.

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

The apex court noted that India is a signatory of worldwide treaties on rights of LGBTQ and it was obligatory to adhere to them.

"This verdict could give rise to other issues such as an increase in the number of HIV cases", member of parliament Subramanian Swamy told CNN-News18.

This was overturned in 2013 by the apex court which also dismissed the review plea against which the curative petitions were filed.

" Constitutional morality can not be martyred at the altar of social morality", Chief Justice Dipak Misra said, reading the verdict.

Cakes and champagne rounded out the hotel party while Suri said Thursday's judgement was just the beginning of the battle for LGBT recognition.

LGBTQ activist Anjali Nazia said the Supreme Court had paved way for bigger judgements ahead.

Now, the next step in the legal fight will surely be for civil rights such as same-sex marriage, inheritance of property, and sharing insurance, among others.

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.

"It is a start".

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. "It's an important step forward towards a liberal, tolerant society", he said on Twitter.

Breaking down after hearing the verdict outside the Supreme Court in New Delhi, corporate employee Ali Ahmad Faraz, said "I am no longer a criminal in my country for a crime I never committed".

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.


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