News

India’s Supreme Court Orders Review of Gay Sex Ban

The push to strike down the law gained momentum in 2001, when Anjali Gopalan, the executive director of the Naz Foundation, an AIDS awareness group, filed a lawsuit challenging it.

In a major victory, the highest court in New Delhi, the capital, ruled in 2009 that Section 377 was unconstitutional, a decision that technically applied only to the New Delhi region but put enormous pressure on the government to appeal. In 2013, the Supreme Court restored the law, noting that India’s Parliament should discuss its merits.

With Monday’s decision, Anand Grover, a lawyer leading the push to invalidate the law, said a new verdict could be reached in the first half of this year.

Newsletter Sign Up

India’s Supreme Court Orders Review of Gay Sex Ban
India’s Supreme Court Orders Review of Gay Sex Ban

Continue reading the main story

Thank you for subscribing.

An error has occurred. Please try again later.

You are already subscribed to this email.

View all New York Times newsletters.

“I’m in high spirits,” he said. “I always look at things in a positive manner and this is more than positive.”

Public opinion on homosexuality has shifted in some pockets of India, with urban centers hosting pride parades, weekly dance parties and film festivals for the gay community. But attitudes still remain deeply conservative, with some Indians objecting to homosexuality out of fear that couples will not be able to get married. Marriage is often viewed as a social pact between two families in India.

Reacting to the Supreme Court decision, Subramanian Swamy, a prominent member of Parliament with the governing Bharatiya Janata Party, told Asian News International, an Indian news network, that homosexuality was not a problem as long as people “don’t celebrate it, don’t flaunt it, don’t create gay bars to select partners.”

He said Section 377 was still necessary. “If you flaunt it,” he said, referring to homosexuality, “it has to be punished.”

Appearing before the Supreme Court on behalf of five petitioners, Arvind Datar, a lawyer, drew upon last August’s privacy ruling, arguing that the “right to choose my partner is a part of my fundamental right to privacy.”

But he also pulled from a statement assembled by the five petitioners: Ritu Dalmia, a celebrity chef; Sunil Mehra, a journalist; Navtej Singh Johar, a dancer; Aman Nath, a hotelier; and Ayesha Kapur, a graduate in psychology.

In one voice, they wrote that “being open about one’s sexual orientation is essential to the pursuit of personal and professional success and happiness.”

Continue reading the main story

Similar Posts