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Lawyers who fought to end gay sex ban in India open up on being a couple

Lawyers who fought to end gay sex ban in India open up on being a couple

Lawyers Arundhati Katju and Menaka Guruswamy argued against Section 377 in India

The two lawyers who fought to decriminalize homosexuality in India came out as a couple.

Menaka Guruswamy and Arundhati Katju argued against the Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code in the Supreme Court. Their work led to the landmark ruling of 6 September 2018, when the Supreme Court judges voted in favor of scrapping the law.

In a recent interview, Guruswamy and Katju explained that milestone wasn’t just a professional victory but also a personal one.

Ending the gay sex ban in India as a couple

The two women are, in fact, a couple. They recalled their thoughts about the long path that brought to same-sex sexual activity being decriminalized.

The pair had also argued the case in 2013. But at the time the Supreme Court upheld the Section 377 after it was decriminalised in 2009 by Delhi High Court.

‘The loss in 2013 was a loss as lawyers, a loss as citizens, it was a personal loss. It is not nice to be a criminal who has to go back to court as a lawyer to argue other cases,’ Guruswamy told CNN.

‘It was really hard,’ Katju echoed her partner’s feelings.

‘We were both lawyers at the Supreme Court and this court had just said that gay people were second-class citizens.’

History owes an apology to LGBTI people and their families

Asked about how they celebrated when the law was overturned, Katju shared a sweet memory with her partner.

‘One of the things that meant the most to me was that my parents came to court,’ Katju said.

‘My mom had been wanting to come to just kind of see us in action for a long time. It really meant a lot.’

Katju then explained that the judge, when pronouncing the verdict, said that ‘history owes an apology to LGBTI people and their families’.

Colonial laws in India ‘are not our laws’

‘I think that for all queer folks in all post-colonial countries, our governments have to have a sense that these are not our laws,’ Guruswamy also said.

‘These were never our cultures. And why have we not being more proactive in expanding freedom. Surely, independence and decolonization must mean that.’

Katju also explained that they hope the verdict might be an inspiration for other post-colonial countries.

‘Malaysians and Sri Lankans are now looking at how they can use this judgement to overturn anti-gay laws in their countries,’ the lawyer said.

See also

After India decriminalizes gay sex, which country might be next?

5 amazing, sexy, romantic Indian LGBTI films as country legalizes gay sex

Controversial bill re-enters India’s lower house and trans groups aren’t happy