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Thursday, 12 December 2013 10:29

Dismay at India's Gay Ban

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© subhadipin © subhadipin

India's Supreme Court has overturned a lower court's ruling that had decriminalized gay sex, a terrible setback for the gay-rights movement in this largely conservative country.

The UK gay Humanist charity, the Pink Triangle Trust (PTT) has expressed its dismay and outrage at the news that India’s highest court has upheld a colonial era law which criminalises gay sex.

The Supreme Court threw out a 2009 New Delhi High Court decision that ruled the law was unconstitutional and this change could see gay people jailed for up to ten years. 

The PTT’s  Secretary George Broadhead said: “This ruling is a terrible setback for the struggle to secure equal rights for LGBT people, not just in India, but in many of the Commonwealth countries that still enforce colonial era draconian restrictions on the rights of LGBT people. It will inevitably provide encouragement to the many African states like Nigeria and Uganda which are viciously hostile to LGBT relationships and rights. 

“As in these countries where religious organisations, including the Anglican Churches, strongly support anti-gay legislation, the ruling in India has been welcomed by religious groups, particularly leaders of India's Christian, Hindu and Muslim communities, who had challenged the 2009 New Delhi High Court ruling which described Section 377 as discriminatory and said gay sex between consenting adults should not be treated as a crime. 

“Zafaryab Jilani, a member of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board said The Supreme Court has upheld the century-old traditions of India. The court is not suppressing any citizen, instead it is understanding the beliefs and values of the large majority of the country.

“The PTT fully endorses the statement made by G Ananthapadmanabhan of Amnesty International India who said: This decision is a body-blow to people's rights to equality, privacy and dignity. It is hard not to feel let down by this judgement, which has taken India back several years in its commitment to protect basic rights.”

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