This is a horrible step backward for a nation that seeks to be counted as one of the world’s leading democracies:
India’s Supreme Court has upheld a law criminalising gay sex, setting aside a landmark lower court decision in 2009 which had overturned the colonial-era ban on homosexuality.
The court on Wednesday held that an homosexual act was punishable under Section 377 of the Indian penal code, reports quoting the judgement said.
A bench of justice G S Singhvi and justice SJ Mukhopadhaya delivered the verdict after hearing petitions of anti-gay right activists besides social and religious organisations against the earlier Delhi high court order of 2009.
The India Times weighs in, and they are beyond angry:
The verdict has been shocking on many levels.
Firstly, landing a major blow to India’s claim of being a country with a modern outlook, the fact a law made by Britishers in the 1860’s has been upheld in 2013 makes for a strange sentence.
Secondly, with many countries now equating gay equality with the rights for same-sex marriage, the Supreme Court ruling puts India back in the company of most nations in the Islamic world and many African countries which criminalise homosexuality. The only country in South Asia where gay sex is now legal is Nepal.
“It is highly embarrassing for the country because now we will be among the dirty dozens of the world,” said Narayan, the lawyer from the Alternative Law Forum.In most western countries, the debate about same-sex couples has shifted on to their rights to marry. More than a dozen countries now allow homosexuals to wed.
Thirdly, it is a blow to people’s right to equality. Just because gays have made a different lifestyle choice, they do not deserve to be put in jail. They are also entitled to their privacy and dignity. They do face widespread discrimination and ignorance from a largely homophobic Indian society. And with this verdict, the law has also deserted them.
Fourthly, by putting the ball in the Parliament’s court, the Supreme Court has now granted power to decide how India’s citizens should lead their private lives, in the hands of those MPs who are yet to become sensitive even to the gender equality issue.
This is very embarrassing for India. Further confirmation of that fact is that one of the worst America has to offer, Bryan Fischer, is totally excited about India’s ruling:
When you have men such as Bryan Fischer, whose beliefs are the antithesis of American values, on your side, you know you’ve run screaming from education, decency and character.
The Indian LGBT rights group Orinam reacts:
We are deeply disappointed at the decision of the Supreme Court in Suresh Kumar Kaushal v. Naz Foundation. The decision by overturning the historic Delhi High Court judgment which recognized that Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) persons are full citizens of India, attempts to stem the tide of history. By overturning the Naz Foundation judgment, the Supreme Court has, in one fell stroke again reduced LGBT persons to the status of what the Delhi High Court memorably called ‘unapprehended felons’. The judgment of the Supreme Court is a unconscionable blow to the dignity of LGBT persons who as per the Indian Constitution are entitled to equal treatment. It withdraws the protective arm of the constitution from LGBT persons and renders LGBT persons vulnerable to discrimination, violence and harassment. It is a tragedy that this judgment forgets the vision of the founders of the Indian republic which was so eloquently captured by the Delhi High Court. By re-criminalizing LGBT persons the judgment ignores the spirit of inclusiveness which is the heart of the Indian Constitution as articulated by Jawaharlal Nehru. It equally abandons the principle of constitutional morality (ie majorities dont have a charter to discriminate against minorities purely because they are majorities) articulated by Dr. Ambedkar which is the cornerstone of a diverse and plural nation.
How awful. All our good wishes to those who will have to continue this fight in India, despite this terrible setback.