Landmark Ruling as India Decriminalizes Homosexual Acts
In a landmark ruling on Thursday, India’s supreme court struck down an 1861 law that made homosexual sex punishable by up ten years in prison. In the decision, judges ruled that the law was being used to discriminate against India’s homosexual community.
“Constitutional morality cannot be martyred at the altar of social morality,” Chief Justice Dipak Misra said, reading out the verdict. “Social morality cannot be used to violate the fundamental rights of even a single individual.”
Also in the ruling, the judges determined that homosexuality was a “biological phenomenon” and thus any discrimination on that basis violated fundamental human rights. The law had banned homosexual sex on the grounds that it was against the order of nature.
The attorney for the five petitioners challenging the law argued the law was unconstitutional because it outlawed and prosecuted behavior between consenting adults.
After the court’s ruling, the Associated Press reported people outside the court celebrated in the streets and cheered on the historic verdict.
“We feel as equal citizens now,” said activist Shashi Bhushan. “What happens in our bedroom is left to us.”
Celebrities and activists from around the world celebrated India’s ruling on Twitter:
India decriminalizes homosexual acts in landmark verdict!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! https://t.co/pMqAOd55c6
— Chelsea Clinton (@ChelseaClinton) September 6, 2018
A historic day for India! Love for all, freedom for all ? RIP #Section377
— Akshay Kumar (@akshaykumar) September 6, 2018
Thread: “Before colonisation, India was a diverse country, a queer country. Sexuality was fluid. This isn’t a sign of India becoming ‘westernised’, this is decolonisation” https://t.co/beVaOTH0hV
— Billy Bragg (@billybragg) September 6, 2018
Look how happy they are! ???
So beautiful and so happy for my LGBTQ+ family in India https://t.co/lhEel5O3PC
— Jaremi Carey (@PhiPhiOhara) September 6, 2018
This is huge news. 1/5 of the world’s LGBTQ+ population are now legally allowed to love who they want. It’s the biggest decriminalisation of homosexuality in human history https://t.co/8JryCLpnnN
— James Besanvalle (@JamesBesanvalle) September 6, 2018