By Cathy Kristofferson, December 11, 2013
Today, India’s Supreme Court had the chance to overturn Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code and decriminalize homosexuality for good. Instead, they set aside a 2009 High Court ruling that had temporarily decriminalized homosexuality for 1.2 billion people.
India is one of the many countries in the world still suffering with a left over British colonial penal code criminalizing homosexuality. Theirs dates back to 1860. Prior to that homosexuality was not seen as a crime in India. It wasn’t even seen as a problem.
In a landmark judgement in 2009 for the Naz India case, the Delhi High Court upheld the rights of India’s LGBT community saying that any sort of sexual relationship between the those of the same sex in private is not an offence. The judgement was immediately challenged by religious groups before India’s Supreme Court.
Section 377 had been used to harass members of India’s LGBT community up until that decision. Since the ruling, though, harassment and blackmail incidences had decreased. The 2009 judgement was not stayed, so homosexuality had remained decriminalized while the Supreme Court considered the challenge.
That all just ended. One day after International Human Rights Day.
The Naz India decision had done more than just decriminalize same sex relations between consenting adults. It had said that LGBT Indians should have the same rights as all other Indians. Today India’s Supreme Court took all that back. Shame on them.
Thanks to The Orinam Blog for their “Pointers for media: 377 case” post.