Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Supreme Court: Homosexual Behavior Illegal in India

India's Supreme Court ruled that the historical law against homosexual sex shall remain in place in the world's largest democracy unless or until the Parliament changes such laws.  The highest court decision negated a lower court ruling from 2009 that decriminalized homosexual behavior.

For background, click headlines below to read previous articles:

Russia Outlaws Homosexual Propaganda, Kissing

'Gay Marriage' Flops in Expanding European Union

'Gay Marriage' NOT America's Choice: Poll Study

Pope Calls All Religions to Team Up Against Gay Agenda

-- From "Top Indian court upholds law making gay sex a crime" by The Associated Press 12/11/13

The law, dating back to the 1860s, when Britain ruled over South Asia, states that "whoever voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal" can be punished by up to 10 years in prison.

The 2009 New Delhi High Court ruling, which said the law violated fundamental human rights, infuriated conservatives and religious groups who say homosexuality represents a threat to traditional Indian culture.

In a rare alliance, the groups — including the All India Muslim Law Board, Christian groups and Hindu spiritual leaders — argued that gay sex is unnatural and that India should maintain the law.

Lawyers and supporters of gays, lesbians and transsexuals vowed to continue pressing for the removal of the law, which they say encourages discrimination, even if it is rarely invoked by prosecutors.

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From "Court in India criminalizes homosexuality" by Annie Gowen and Rama Lakshmi, Washington Post 12/11/13

Human rights activists called the move a “major setback” to the decade-long fight against the law — known as “Section 377” — which was ruled unconstitutional by a Delhi High Court in 2009. That victory has long been seen as watershed moment for the country’s burgeoning gay-rights movement — in a still traditional and deeply religious society where many homosexuals have long felt the need to conceal their sexual identities, and even marry members of the opposite sex, because of the stigma attached.

. . . in the years since homosexuality was decriminalized, human rights activists say, more gay, lesbian and transgendered Indians have felt freer to gather and talk about their sexuality openly. Colorful pride parades are more common, and there is even a gay radio station — Q Radio — in Bangalore, the country’s high-tech capital.

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From "Court Restores India’s Ban on Gay Sex" by Gardiner Harris, New York Times 12/11/13

. . . Indians are in the main deeply conservative about issues of sexuality and personal morality. National surveys show that Indians widely disapprove of homosexuality and, on average, have few sexual partners throughout their lives.

Asian nations typically take a more restrictive view of homosexuality than Western countries. In China, gay sex is not explicitly outlawed, but people can get arrested under ill-defined laws like licentiousness.

India’s judges have a long history of judicial activism that would be all but unimaginable in the United States. . . . But legalizing gay sex was one step too far for India’s top judges, and in a rare instance of judicial modesty they deferred to India’s legislators.

There is almost no chance that Parliament will act where the Supreme Court did not, advocates and opponents of the law agreed. And with the Bharatiya Janata Party, a conservative Hindu nationalist group, appearing in ascendancy before national elections in the spring, the prospect of any legislative change in the next few years is highly unlikely, analysts said.

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