Gay sex decriminalised, Bollywood gives a thumbs up to Supreme Court’s decision

Posted September 06, 2018

A five-judge Constitution bench of the Supreme Court headed by Chief Justice unanimously decriminalised part of the 158-year-old colonial law.

Actor Swara Bhaskar said the verdict showed that popular morality can not suppress constitutional rights.

Gay sex had been punishable by up to 10 years in jail. "In the present case, our deliberations will be on various spectrums", CJI Misra said. The co-author of a homophobia report tells CNN 30 of almost 50 former British colonies still have the colonial-era anti-LGBT laws on the books; Al Jazeera notes nearby Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh still consider homosexuality illegal.

"We are no longer criminals, (but) it will take time to change things on the ground - 20 to 30 years, maybe", said Saha.

Amid all celebrations, many also acknowledged their fight may still go on as a complete equality remains some distance away due to fears of police and mob violence and continuing legal obstacles to right to adoption and to gay marriages.

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The ruling marks a historic and groundbreaking day meaning gay sex is no longer a criminal offence. Claiming to represent more than 350 LGBTIQ alumni, students, staff and faculty from the IITs, the petitioners said that the existence of Section 377 had caused them "mental trauma and illnesses, such as clinical depression and anxiety and relegated some of them to second-class citizenship".

Clauses which deal with unnatural sex with animals and children still remain in force.

Gay sex is considered taboo by many in socially conservative India, and despite opposition to lifting the ban from some lawmakers, activists had hoped the ban would be lifted.

The court said in 2009 that Section 377 is a violation of fundamental rights in the constitution.

Reading out the judgement, Chief Justice of India, Dipak Mishra said, "Section 377 is irrational and arbitrary".

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Recognising the struggle of the LGBTQ community, Misra said, "The determination and hope that has allowed them (LGBTs) "to look for the rainbow in every cloud".

"The sodomy law that became the model everywhere, from Uganda to Singapore to the United Kingdom itself, premiered in India, becoming the confusing and dehumanizing standard replicated around the world", she said in a statement, saying "today's historic outcome will reverberate across India and the world". But their treatment - both shunned as impure, and embraced for the belief that they can bring powerful blessings - reflects the complexities of gay life here. So proud today! Decriminalising homosexuality and abolishing #Section377is a huge thumbs up for humanity and equal rights!

Congress on Thursday described the Supreme Court's decision to decriminalise homosexuality as "momentous" saying it was an important step towards a liberal and tolerant society. The country gets its oxygen back!' he wrote on Twitter.

The end of Section 377 started a new chapter in India, he said.

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