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India Has Just Decriminalised Consensual Gay Sex

Today is a day for celebration as the Indian Supreme Court has just decriminalised consensual gay sex.

Earlier today, the Supreme Court announced the verdict as crowds and activists celebrated with one another. The historic decriminalisation was unanimously voted by five judges and has come after 18 years of protests against the country’s Section 377 law.

Section 377 of the Indian constitution was imposed during British rule in the Victorian-era and has remained intact ever since. Under the law, gay sex was punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra read out the judgement by saying to criminalise gay sex was “irrational, arbitrary and indefensible”. He added that “any consensual sexual relationship between two consenting adults – homosexuals, heterosexuals or lesbians – cannot be said to be unconstitutional.”

One of the main lawyers in the case, Anand Grover, said outside the court that the judgement “should be publicised in every nook and corner of India”.


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“It was a law that propagated homophobia,” said Keshav Suri, one of the petitioners against Section 377, told France24 that “it was a law that propagated homophobia.” To celebrate the result, Suri organised a dance show at his family’s hotel in Delhi. Meanwhile, college student Rama Vij was reported by the French news outlet as saying: “I am speechless! It’s taken a long time to come but finally, I can say I am free and I have equal rights as others.”

The Delhi High Court decriminalised gay sex in 2009, but the ban was reversed in 2014 after religious leaders successfully appealed the decision. 2,187 cases under Section 377 were registered in 2016 under the category of “unnatural offences” with seven people convicted and 16 acquitted.

Just a few months ago, the Indian Psychiatric Society (IPS) launched a campaign calling for an end on considering homosexuality as an illness.

People were keen to share their happiness on Twitter by using the hashtag #Section377. See some of their responses below. Congratulations, India!

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