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Indian Supreme Court Bans Gay Sex

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The Indian Supreme Court has reinstated a ban on gay sex, outraging many activists who had hoped for an opposite ruling.

In 2009 the Delhi High Court had overturned a section of an 1860 British colonial law prohibiting, "carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal" and legalized relations between two consenting adults. This had been seen as a victory by gay rights activists.

The punishment for breaking that law is 10 years in jail although it has seldom been directly enforced.

According to the Indian Supreme Court the law could still be changed by the Indian legislature, but that is unlikely to happen in this very conservative country. Homosexuality is a taboo subject and even heterosexual contact is discouraged in public.

Gay rights activists around the world had hoped that the Supreme Court would at least uphold the 2009 ruling. Now that it has been overturned, Arvind Narrain, a lawyer for the Alternative Law Forum gay rights describes this as a "black day."

"We cannot be forced back into the closet. We are not backing off from our fight against discrimination," said Gautam Bhan, an activist who had petitioned the court.

"This is a very sad day for us, we are back to square one in our fight for the democratic rights of the gay community," said Ashok Row Kavi of the activist group Humsafar Trust.

Since 2009 there has been a limited expansion of freedom and expression for the gay community in India, including a modest presence in universities and larger cities like Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore.

On The Web:
India’s Supreme Court Restores an 1861 Law Banning Gay Sex
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/12/world/asia/court-restores-indias-ban-on-gay-sex.html
India top court reinstates gay sex ban
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-india-25329065

Karen is a Toronto based writer, and has been writing full-time for eCanadaNow since May of 2011, covering many topics including politics and world issues. Prior to her work writing and editing for eCanadaNow, she worked as a freelance journalist. You can email Karen at [Karene at ecanadanow.com]

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