India’s top court takes up gay sex law dispute

By Ashok Sharma
The Associated Press

NEW DELHI (AP) — India’s top court on Monday, July 20, refused to temporarily suspend a lower court ruling that made gay sex legal among consenting adults, an attorney said. Homosexuals achieved a small victory when the Delhi High Court on July 2 struck down a law — Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code — that made sex between people of the same gender punishable by up to 10 years in prison. While actual criminal prosecutions are rare, the law frequently has been used to harass citizens.

The Supreme Court said the ruling will remain in effect while it finishes hearing a Hindu astrologer’s petition seeking to annul the landmark decision. The hearing on the petition will start Sept. 14.
The court also asked the Indian government to submit its stand on the issue within eight weeks, said Praveen Aggarwal, a lawyer for the astrologer, Sushil Kumar Kaushal.

“We are not for a stay as there is no threat of any consequences,” the Press Trust of India news agency quoted Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan and Justice P. Sathasivam as saying.

Gays in India face a long battle to gain acceptance — social and legal — in this deeply conservative country where even heterosexual sex is talked about in hushed tones.

A Supreme Court ruling will be the final word on the issue and will be applicable all over India.

“Even animals don’t indulge in such activities,” Kaushal said in his petition to the Supreme Court early this month, adding that allowing gay sex would help spread HIV/AIDS.

Homosexuality is slowly gaining acceptance in some parts of India, especially in its big cities. Many bars have gay nights, and some high-profile Bollywood films have dealt with gay issues. The last two years have also seen large gay pride parades in New Delhi and other big cities such as Mumbai and Calcutta.

Still, being gay remains deeply taboo in most of the country, and many homosexuals hide their sexual orientation from friends and families. ♦

One Response to “India’s top court takes up gay sex law dispute”

  1. Ajithkumar says:

    Homosexuality amoung animals were known even to ancient people and is well known amoung modern day animal life researchers and scientists and are well documented. Those who say homosexuality is ‘un natural’ and does not exist amoung other ‘animals’ should get educated and update themselves before announcing big blunders on the subject.

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