Indian court upholds anti-gay law
NEW DELHI — India's Supreme Court overturned a historic lower-court decision on homosexuality on Wednesday, making gay sex a crime in the world's most populous democracy, with violators facing as many as 10 years in prison.
The court ruled that a British colonial-era law outlawing “carnal acts against the order of nature” was constitutional. Changing it should be left to Parliament, not the courts, the judges ruled.
The ruling was a sign of how the gay rights movement has been met with a fierce backlash in some parts of the world, even as it has made dramatic gains elsewhere.
The Delhi High Court had legalized consensual same-sex relations in 2009. That victory was seen as a watershed moment in the country's gay rights movement, which has been growing despite stiff opposition from many quarters in this still-traditional and deeply religious society. Many gay and lesbian Indians have long felt the need to conceal their sexual identities, and some even marry heterosexuals because of the stigma attached to their sexuality.
At a news conference, gay rights activists said that they were shocked and discouraged by the ruling.
“It's a black day for us,” said Anjali Gopalan, the founder of the Naz Foundation, a nongovernmental organization that is focused on HIV/AIDS and was the petitioner in the original Delhi case. “I feel so exhausted right now thinking we are being set back by 100 years.”
The 2009 decision decriminalizing homosexuality was controversial. Several religious, political and social groups filed appeals. The government did not join the appeals, but India's solicitor general said during arguments in the case before the Supreme Court that gay sex was “highly immoral,” touching off a firestorm.
“All religious communities — Muslims, Christians, Hindus — had said that this was unnatural sex,” said Ejaz Maqbool, a lawyer representing religious groups.
Prakash Sharma, a senior leader and spokesman for the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, a conservative Hindu group, lauded the court decision.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Kurdish fighters in shattered Syrian town of Kobani confident of ISIS defeat
- Dozens killed in bombing attack on Nigerian mosque
- Hong Kong protest leader Wong an unlikely icon
- Russian convoy of warships plies channel waters off Britain
- After 2,000 years, China finally will end state monopoly on salt
- Russian doctors rebel over health reform
- U.S.-backed rebels push forward in southern Syria
- U.S. military shifts strategy to smaller Iraq force
- Israel OKs Jewish homeland legislation
- Lack of money may crush ISIS
- Ukraine aims to ride reform to European Union