Hope SC ruling on gay sex boosts efforts to eliminate stigma

Hope SC ruling on gay sex boosts efforts to eliminate stigma

Hope SC ruling on gay sex boosts efforts to eliminate stigma

In a conservative country, political parties have steered clear of declaring their position openly on gay rights but the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party had told the court that it will support whatever decision it takes.

"The law had become a weapon for harassment for the LGBT community", said chief justice Dipak Misra as he quashed the cornerstone of Section 377, a law introduced by British rulers in 1861. One of the judges, Indu Malhotra, said she believed the LGBT community was owed an apology. Since the ruling, lawyers and human rights advocates have worked tirelessly to decriminalize gay sex.

Indian religious groups have fiercely opposed any liberalisation of sexual morality.

"So pleased to learn that the Supreme Court has ruled against criminalising sexual acts in private".

One of the petitioners said it is a new dawn for the community which would no more feel like a criminal and a second class citizen.

In Chennai, gay activists handed out chocolate.

Activists had been fighting the ban since the 1990s, suffering several court reversals before Thursday's verdict.

Reacting to the apex court ruling in favour of the LGBTIQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender/transsexual, intersex and queer/questioning) community in India, Tharoor said he was very pleased with the historic judgement. "I think the next step would be to get anti-discrimination laws in place, or anti-bullying laws".

In a statement, the United Nations also welcomed the reading down of the law.

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"We cannot change history but can pave a way for a better future", said Justice D.Y. Chandrachud.

Activists have been trying to strike down Section 377 since 2001, when the Naz Foundation (India) Trust, a sexual health organization, argued that the laws prevented them from accessing communities affected by HIV/AIDS. Some Hindu myths even honor transgender people.

Many activists like Suri say that gay marriage and equal inheritance rights for gay couples will be the ultimate equality prize.

A five-judge Constitution bench of the Supreme Court headed by Chief Justice unanimously decriminalised part of the 158-year-old colonial law.

A ruling a year ago that individuals have a right to privacy, and that sex is private, helped form the basis of the legal argument in favor of repealing the gay sex ban.

Supporters of the ruling celebrated in the streets as the decades-long legal battle was definitively put to rest.

Prince Manvendra Singh Gohil, a campaigner and only openly gay member of an Indian royal family, said the ruling had "paved way for a larger social change in the society". Still, being gay is seen as shameful in much of the country.

"Now the bigger task is to bring about acceptance in society". Many cut cakes and waved the rainbow flag - which has come to be associated with the gay pride movement and is often used during marches held by the community to reflect its diversity.

New Delhi choreographer Mandeep Raikhy, who has used the performances of his dance troupe to highlight the experience of gays, was more cautious.

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