India Decriminalises Same Sex Intercourse After 150 Years

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After about a 150years of struggle and uncertainty for the gay community in India, a colonial-era law that placed a ban on intercourse between the same gender has finally been stopped.

According to reports from CNN in what can be termed a landmark verdict for LGBTQ rights in India. The Supreme Court in India ruled to decriminalise gay sex on September 6, 2018. The law has banned sexual relations between the same gender because it was seen as going against the order of nature and this law has been valid for as long as 150.

The court announced the verdict in Dehli as people gathered outside to cheer and celebrate. Although in 2009 the New Dehli high court had ruled that the ban on consensual same-gender sex was a violation of human right, but it was only applicable to the region of Dehli, and in 2013 it was swiftly overruled as a result of petitions forms some Muslims, Hindus, and Christians protesters.

The Supreme Court had stated that it was legally unsustainable to repeal the act criminalising homosexual relations in the 2013 ruling. The ruling added that only a tiny population of Indian citizens belonged to the LGBTQ community.

According to the Washington Post, the lawyers who represented the LGBT community in India questioned the constitutionality of the 2013 ruling by the Supreme court.
This historic achievement is evidence of social change that didn’t happen rapidly but gradually over three decades.

Gay rights being a part of the Indian social change has been spreading at a fast rate recently because of the activists and protesters who go about creating awareness. According to the Washington Post, around thirty Indian cities have protested against the 2013 ruling, making the new decision a very victorious one for the LGBTQ community. Although the law has been on for as long as 159years, it has not been enforced fully in India, but the reason activists fought for the legalisation of gay sex is to help prevent guilt and fear of prosecution in the LGBTQ community.

The Indian penal code was imposed during the colonial rule, and the 377th section of the penal code carried a life sentence as punishment for partaking in any “carnal” act with a person of same sex. This penalty had induced fear and caused discrimination of the LGBT community in India.

According to Information gathered from the Guardian, One of the judges who ruled in favour of the decriminalisation of sex between people of the same gender said: “History owes an apology to members of the community for the delay in ensuring their rights.”
People may be happy with the new development, but even though it is now possible to come out as gay, Homosexuality remains a taboo in India.

However, the gay rights activists that pushed for the decriminalisation are not satisfied yet despite their newly achieved success. They are ready to go further to see that the LGBT community in India is not denied other rights.

Anjali Gopalan, the founder of the organisation that spearheaded the battle against Section 377, shared with CNN that “The next step is to start looking at issues of rights. Right now, it is just decriminalising, The right that every citizen of the country should have access to and should not be taken for granted. Like the right to marry, the right to adopt, the right to inherit. Things that no one questions and that are clearly denied to a certain section of citizens.”

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