Friday, July 03, 2009

Out Of The Darkness....Just A Little

Consensual gay sex is no longer a crime in India. In parts of India, at least.

An Indian court ruled Thursday to decriminalize homosexuality in what many see as a groundbreaking decision. The Delhi High Court ruled that treating consensual gay sex as a crime is a violation of fundamental rights protected by India’s constitution. The ruling, however, applies only in New Delhi.

Anjali Gopalan, executive director of the Naz Foundation (India) Trust, a sexual health organization: “I’m so excited, and I haven’t been able to process the news yet. We’ve finally entered the 21st century.”
Religious leaders, however, were quick to condemn the ruling, saying that it brings Western culture into India, arguing that gay sex should remain illegal and that open homosexuality is out of step with India’s deeply held traditions. “We are totally against such a practice as it is not our tradition or culture,” said Puroshattam Narain Singh, an official of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, or World Hindu Council.

Sex between people of the same gender has been illegal in India since a British colonial era law that classified it as “against the order of nature.” According to the law, gay sex is punishable by 10 years in prison and, while there weren't many actual prosecutions , the threat of prosecution was used to harass and intimidate gay men and women in India.

And though this is a big step forward for such a conservative country, the ruling is not binding on courts in India’s other states. However, there is hope that the New Delhi court decision could have a domino effect and soon apply to all of India.

1 comment:

Jeremy said...

One small step for India! :)