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Indian churches call for homosexuality to be decriminalized

Indian churches call for homosexuality to be decriminalized

Christian leaders in India from different denominations standing on a stage

A coalition of Christian churches in India has called for the abolishment of laws criminalizing homosexuality.

The National Council of Churches in India (NCCI) represents about 14 million people. It made the call to decriminalize homosexuality in an open letter.

Its open letter came after the Supreme Court of India agreed to review Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code. That code outlaws ‘carnal intercourse against the order of nature’, which includes same-sex relations.

‘Homosexuality and homo-eroticism have been practiced in India from time immemorial,’ the letter read.

The NCCI’s National Ecumenical Forum for Gender and Sexual Diversities authored the letter.

‘Homosexual activity was never condemned or criminalized in ancient India,’ it said.

The NCCI went on to argue British colonialists introduced the concept of homophobia to India based on Victorian values.

‘Churches in India need to give responsible consideration to the initiative of the Supreme Court of India to review Sec 377 in the light of constitutional rights and the right to privacy, and the gospel of justice and love,’ the NCCI said.

‘As followers of the non-conformist Christ, the one who consistently questioned unjust and non-compassionate traditions of public morality, our call is to reject all laws that demonize, criminalize, and exclude human beings, and work to facilitate just inclusive and loving communities.’

Sodomy Law is facism

In its letter the NCCI said Section 377 was legal code of fascism.

‘[Section 377] provide[s] the State the power to intervene, invade, regulate, and monitor even the intimate spheres of human life,’ the letter read.

‘This repressive legal code further reduces human body and sexuality into “colonies” that can be invaded, tamed, and redeemed with the display of abusive power by the law enforcement officers and the judiciary of the State, and the violent interventions of moral policing by the Religious Right.’

History may repeat itself

Section 377 has a had turbulent history in recent years.

India decriminalized homosexuality in 2009. But the Supreme Court reinstated Section 377 in 2013.

Since then there have been many failed attempts to repeal Section 377, with those wanting the law repealed becoming more vocal ahead of the