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India’s National Congress president vows to decriminalize gay sex

India’s National Congress president vows to decriminalize gay sex

Pride in Bangalore, India, where gay sex may soon be legal.

In India, over 1 billion people live in a country where gay sex is illegal.

The National Congress president, Rahul Gandhi, has now vowed to remove the colonial-era law Section 377 that criminalizes homosexuality.

In 2012, the Delhi High Court ruled to abolish Section 377 based on an argument of a privacy. That decision was overturned in the 2013 Supreme Court ruling.

And ever since, Indians have been forced to live under a rule that states the only form of sex allowed is in the missionary position between a married heterosexual couple.

National Congress president vows to decriminalize gay sex in India

Gandhi made the vow when speaking with trans activist Akkai Padmashali in Bengaluru.

Rahul Gandhi is the president of the National Congress of India
Rahul Gandhi is the president of the National Congress of India

She said, during the informal chat, that Congress was in favor of removing the law.

This is a similar statement to what some ministers have said in the past. And as Gandhi’s party are not in power, it is unlikely he will be able to impact change in government.

Section 377 will likely be decided in the Supreme Court

The question of Section 377, and whether it will be repealed, will likely remain with the Supreme Court.

It is tabled to be heard by the three judges, but a hearing date has not yet been scheduled.

Activists are hoping the Supreme Court will rule based on the recent ruling on privacy.

In August 2017, the Supreme Court ruled against ID cards.

The ruling also stated: ‘The rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender population cannot be construed to be “so-called rights”…

‘Their rights are not “so-called” but are real rights founded on sound constitutional doctrine.’

Justice Chandrachud made a statement on Section 377.

‘Sexual orientation is an essential attribute of privacy. Discrimination against an individual on the basis of sexual orientation is deeply offensive to the dignity and self-worth of the individual.

‘Equality demands that that the sexual orientation of each individual in society must be protected on an even platform.’

 

In 2016, Congress MP Shashi Tharoor brought the Indian Penal Code (Amendment) Bill seeking changes in Section 377 but it was defeated in the Lok Sabha.