India’s Bharatiya Janata Party has ‘unambiguously’ endorsed the re-criminalisation of gay sex.
The BJP’s president, Rajnath Singh, made the statement yesterday (13 December) after the party had remained quiet on the Supreme Court’s ruling on Wednesday that Section 377, a colonial era law which banned gay sex, was legal.
Singh said: ‘We will state [at an all-party meeting] that we support Section 377 because we believe that homosexuality is an unnatural act and cannot be supported.’
Sources close to the BJP, India’s largest opposition party, say Singh’s statement was a ‘carefully considered’ view, believing it to be shared with many of India’s conservative population.
Despite the BJPs now open support for the anti-gay law, some BJP leaders have shown caution that the party cannot take an open stance of the issue because it is seen as being controversial.
One leader said: ‘One has to keep in mind that this issue is taboo in society. A lesbian or gay couple may have to face social stigma. Even the family members of such people have to face jibes and are shunned by some sections of the society.’
Another BJP leader had earlier said: ‘Section 377 of [the Indian Penal Code] only bans sexual conduct that goes against the order of nature, A reading down of this law can be that to be born with gay tendencies cannot be against the order of nature.
‘The court does not have to legalise or illegalise such a thing. It is not against the order of nature.’
The Congress is now the only party which has come out against Section 377.
Speaking on the Supreme Court’s ruling, Congress President Sonia Gandhi said: ‘The High Court had wisely removed an archaic, repressive and unjust law that infringed on the basic human rights enshrined in our Constitution.’