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India’s gay sex ban ‘worst event to happen in global gay rights’

India’s gay sex ban ‘worst event to happen in global gay rights’

As India’s Supreme Court bans gay sex, thousands of LGBTI people have taken to the streets to protest the ruling.

In one Supreme Court ruling, millions of people’s sex lives – 17.5% of the world’s gay population – have become illegal.

Colonial era law Section 377 affects an estimated 40 million gay  men, as well as forcing the rest of the 1 billion people in India to have sex in the missionary position.

The ban has been described by LGBTI activists as ‘the worst event to happen in global gay rights in the past decade’.

Several people took to the streets of Mumbai to protest the ruling, with many shocked over the decision.

One gay activist, who has asked to remain anonymous, told GSN: ‘This is a black day for the world.

‘We hoped the Supreme Court would judge in our favor, and uphold the Delhi High Court ruling in 2009 that we are not criminals. It has failed to do the right thing.

‘While homosexuality may be a criminal offense once again, we will continue to fight and hope our politicians finally see sense.’

The ban will also been as a setback for the 76 other countries that criminalize gay sex. If the old British colonial law could have been removed in India, then it could have had an effect on several other states in the world.

Purna Sen, Chair of Kaleidoscope Trust and former Head of Human Rights at the Commonwealth, said: ‘The Supreme Court’s ruling is a terrible setback for the struggle to secure equal rights for LGBT people, not just in India, but in many of the Commonwealth countries that still enforce colonial era restrictions on the liberties of LGBT people.

‘The 2009 ruling that read the ban on same-sex relationships as being at odds with the Constitution, acted as a real beacon for hope in the Commonwealth.

‘Today’s ruling, sadly, is a set back for India and sets a worrying precedent.’

In Delhi later today, hundreds of LGBTI activists will march in front of the High Court while wearing black.

Other protests for LGBTI rights are expected to be held across India.

The Chennai Rainbow Coalition, one of the biggest gay campaigning groups in the country, described today as a ‘tragedy’.

‘The judgment of the Supreme Court is an unconscionable blow to the dignity of LGBT persons who as per the Indian Constitution are entitled to equal treatment,’ a spokesperson said.

‘The judgment is thus a deep betrayal of the fundamental constitutional promise that the dignity of all citizens would be recognized and that equal treatment is a non negotiable element of the world’s largest democracy.

‘In this betrayal of constitutional faith, the Court has shredded the very principles it has sworn itself to uphold.

‘We proclaim that inspite of the judgment of the Supreme Court, the only way the LGBT movement will go is forward and the arc of history though long will turn towards justice.

‘We pledge to continue this struggle with re doubled vigor till such time that Section 377 is consigned to where it belongs­ the dustbins of history.’

But it is not just gay rights groups.

The Additional Solicitor General of India has given a scathing criticism of the Supreme Court ruling.

Indira Jaisingh said now that the highest court in the land has ruled against the lives of LGBTI people, it makes it far harder for Parliament to take the final call on amending or repealing Section 377.

‘What surprises me is the double standards here. When it is a question of human rights, why send it to the Parliament when the Supreme Court is itself the observer of the human rights,’ she told AP.

‘This judgement goes contrary to the values in the Constitution of India.’