Queerty is better as a member

Log in | Register
  SODOMY, SODOYOU

India, World’s Largest Democracy, Bans Gay Sex

gay-indiaIndia’s Supreme Court set back the clock on human rights some 150 years Wednesday when it reinstated a ban on gay sex.

In 2004, the Delhi High Court lifted the ban on consenting adults, ruling unconstitutional a section of the penal code dating back to 1860 that prohibited “carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal.” Violating the law carries with it a penalty of up to 10 years in prison.

Faith-based groups appealed the gay sex ban’s reversal to the Supreme Court. In a shocking decision, the Court overruled the 2009 decision, proclaiming that only parliament had the right to change the penal code. LGBT activists had expected the Supremes to simply let the 2009 ruling stand, as the Court had made progressive rulings on other social issues in recent years.

Meanwhile public acceptance and awareness of homosexuality in the otherwise socially conservative nation has slowly increased. The 2009 ruling stems from the work of the gay rights advocacy group, the Naz Foundation, which initially filed suit against the colonial law in 2001. Years of struggle later and the Delhi High Court reversed the ban on gay sex, opening the door, activists say, to protecting LGBTs from losing their jobs and preventing doctors from refusing to treat patients based on their sexuality.

“This verdict is remarkable and bizarre,” social scientist Sanjay Srivastava told the BBC. “How can a court take away a fundamental right which has been already given to people? It is a huge setback for the gay community. And it makes India look thoroughly stupid internationally.”

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s government seemed to support the 2009 decision at the time, but with general elections in May — and the conservative Hindu nationalist party gaining momentum — the government is unlikely to take a stand against the Supreme Court’s decision.

“The Supreme Court has honored the sentiments of Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Christians and those who believe in morality,” said popular Hindu spiritual leader Baba Ramdev. “Today they are talking about men having sexual relationships with men, women with women; tomorrow they will talk of sexual relationships with animals.”

Though heavily disappointed, Naz — as well as other activists, lawyers and LGBT rights supporters — plan on fighting the Supreme Court’s decision.

“We feel very let down,” said Nax Foundation’s lawyer Anand Grover. “But our fight is not over and we will continue to fight for the constitutional right.” Gautam Bhan, an activist who had petitioned the court, added defiantly, “We cannot be forced back into the closet. We are not backing off from our fight against discrimination.”

By:           Les Fabian Brathwaite
On:           Dec 11, 2013
Tagged: , ,

  • 30 Comments
    • pierre
      pierre

      This is what the conservatives in this country (US) would like to happen here.
      Let’s also ban gravity, oxygen, and the sun rising in the East.

      Dec 11, 2013 at 9:40 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • AuntieChrist
      AuntieChrist

      I thought it was already banned,I know they don’t approve of homosexuality so this is no surprise.

      Dec 11, 2013 at 9:58 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • TRVB
      TRVB

      Please sign the petition at change.org and help to convince the Government of India to be on the right side of history.

      https://www.change.org/de/Petitionen/restore-equal-rights

      Thank you!!!

      Dec 11, 2013 at 10:17 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Kieran
      Kieran

      Well afterall, isn’t this the country where they worship cows? Can’t blame the Christians for this one.

      Dec 11, 2013 at 10:58 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Spike
      Spike

      Well that does it, I’m cancelling my next trip to that shit hole of a country.

      Dec 11, 2013 at 11:35 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • MikeE
      MikeE

      Learn to read, Queerty.

      This isn’t a “ban on gay sex”.

      This was a top court saying that a lower court did not have the power to remove a law from the books. And it’s not a law that specifically “bans gay sex”.

      I’m not saying this isn’t a minor step backward, but it’s not as dramatic as you’re making it out to be. The Indian Constitution already protects all citizens, and yes, it also protects LGBT people.

      Dec 11, 2013 at 11:40 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • SpunkyBunks
      SpunkyBunks

      People ask me why I always vacation in first world countries like Spain and Greece. I tell them that there are few places I can go as a gay man and be safe. You should see the look on the straight’s faces when I tell them that. They take it for granted that they can do anything in this world without any repercussions.

      When is a gay organization going to organize a real boycott of these backward countries? Most Americans don’t know how awful Jamaica is towards the gays. I’m sure many would reconsider a vacation elsewhere if they were informed about it.

      Dec 11, 2013 at 11:44 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • tjr101
      tjr101

      This would be a dream come true for Republicans and the right-wing if it were to happen here in America. While they’re at it, they’ll want to ban interracial marriages as well. Might as well return to the “good ole days.”

      Dec 11, 2013 at 1:09 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Ajai
      Ajai

      It’s based on laws enacted in 1861 by the British Empire when they ruled over India. But yes, we can’t exclusively blame Christianity. A setback for human rights to be sure.

      Dec 11, 2013 at 1:23 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • AnitaMann
      AnitaMann

      Not surprised considering it’s a country that treats cows better than women.

      Dec 11, 2013 at 1:35 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Merv
      Merv

      @MikeE: Ten years in prison is pretty dramatic, and more than a minor step backward.

      Where do you hear that it doesn’t reinstate a ban on gay sex? I haven’t heard much dispute about that.

      Dec 11, 2013 at 1:37 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • jwrappaport
      jwrappaport

      @MikeE: Perhaps it is you who should learn to read. The New York Times article on the subject is titled, “Court Restores India’s Ban on Gay Sex.”

      Unless I’m very much mistaken, India has no protections for LGBT citizens, and it has not interpreted its constitution in such a way as to provide those protections.

      Dec 11, 2013 at 1:41 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • YesIDid
      YesIDid

      India has to be kidding! Its population growth is out of control. It really could use nature’s birth control.

      Dec 11, 2013 at 3:57 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • TampaBayTed
      TampaBayTed

      I lived in India in the 1960s. I have no desire to go there even if they gave me a first class airplane ticket and put me up at the Taj in its best suite. To this day I cannot stand the smell of food cooking spiced with curry. It makes me nauseous. The poverty, the disease, the filth, and the insufferable caste system have probably not changed much. Maybe now there are techies named “Bob” and another 100 million people in the slums. That’s just my impression of this country.

      Dec 11, 2013 at 4:00 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Daniel-Reader
      Daniel-Reader

      Without Equal Protection under Law which was supposed to exist in the India Constitution, India is no longer a democracy. It is just mob rule. The Rule of Law is now rendered moot by the ruling. Equal Protection under Law is the democratic principle that sustains the Rule of Law, and the court said there is none in India. The court even said people shouldn’t bother using courts to resolve issues, which means the constitution isn’t worth the paper it is written upon and that the judiciary is pointless to resolve things. If I were a religious leader I wouldn’t be celebrating since the court said disgruntled people should just gettogether and vote away human rights of others, and religious leaders aren’t exempt from being subject to such mob rule. Simply count the number of religious leader to see. India actually has few religious leaders yet the people harmed by those religious leaders number in the tens of millions.

      Dec 11, 2013 at 5:29 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Mazo
      Mazo

      @Kieran: Well you should start because it was Christian groups along with Muslim and other conservative groups that challenged the LGBT community’s petition to revoke the old law.

      Dec 11, 2013 at 6:12 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Mazo
      Mazo

      @Daniel-Reader: You are merely raving incoherently. The law states that “carnal intercourse that goes against nature” is illegal. This law has been in effect since 1861 and its 150 year history only 200 people have ever been charged with it. The “law” that the Supreme Court reinstated is for all practical purposed “defunct” and not in use. Any “victory” by the LGBT community would have been only symbolic, nothing would change on the ground apart from forging a path ahead for wider social acceptance. In a way, this reinstatement has done that by drawing attention on this issue and making it a talking point across India, across political parties, across living rooms all over India.

      India is home to 1.2 billion people who elect their own government. This law was not written by any Indian government but will be removed by elected Indian representatives in time. Your posturing about India is shameful and small minded.

      Dec 11, 2013 at 6:17 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Mazo
      Mazo

      @jwrappaport: Actually you are mistaken. The Indian Constitution guarantees the SAME rights to ALL citizens be they LGBT or otherwise as far as political rights go. That’s why there is a mob of LGBT protestors in various cities protesting and not thrown in prison for being “unnatural”.
      The Law the LGBT groups are protesting against is an antiquated law that has no practical application. It has very rarely been used and that in part was the problem when the Indian Supreme Court asked the LGBT community to prove that the law had affected them severely. They failed to prove it. Further, the Indian Supreme Court has not advocated or justified the existence or continuance of the law but merely stated that a lower court’s position on invalidating the law was not legally tenable and left the matter upto the Indian legislature.

      The failure of the Supreme Court to support the lower court’s contention only puts pressure on the Indian legislature to do so and politically many politicians have expressed disappointment with the Supreme Court’s decision. The LGBT is NOT going to be now rounded up and thrown in prison or denied their political rights or arrested for simply being gay.

      Dec 11, 2013 at 6:26 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Mazo
      Mazo

      @Merv: I don’t think anybody since the 1920s have spent a day in prison under this archaic law. So the supreme court reinstating the ban will have no “practical” effect. It would only be a symbolic defeat for LGBT rights. The government has refrained for removing this law all these years because there hasn’t been sufficient political interest or incentive. Now with this major judgement passed by the Indian Supreme Court, it will force legislatures to take this issue seriously.
      The tenor of gloom and doom emanating from Indian LGBT activists is partly due to their great sense of disappointment as the Indian Supreme Court has always been a highly progressive body of jurisprudence. But in practical terms the government isn’t going to crack down on them and thrown them in prison. The Indian people wouldn’t stand for it.

      Dec 11, 2013 at 6:31 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Mazo
      Mazo

      @SpunkyBunks: India is perhaps one of the only countries in where men holding hands and walking doesn’t hold any “sexual” connotations. Gay people haven’t been targeted or terrorized and even when the current law was legal, the law was never implemented so they never had any troubles about being “Gay”.

      Dec 11, 2013 at 6:34 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • aequalitasTN
      aequalitasTN

      I don’t pretend to be an Indian legal scholar, but if the Indian Constitution guarantees equal rights to all, as several have alleged, and the Indian Penal Code prevents, in part, sexual expression between consenting adults of the same sex, is that part of the code not in direct conflict with Constitution, as it only applies to one segment of the population over the other, thus using the law to deprive the aforementIoned section of the populace of their freedom, condemning them to prison for ten years? If that is the case, would it not be the job of the court to evaluate said law against the guarantees of the Indian Constitution? So, if all this is true, is it not the job of the Indian Supreme Court, not parliament, to judicially review these laws? Is it now the job of the legislature in a parliamentary system to impose a check upon itself? Sounds like the Indian Supreme Court just didn’t do its damned job for whatever reason.

      Dec 11, 2013 at 8:09 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Merv
      Merv

      @Mazo: I think you underestimate the importance of the ruling. We had similar laws in the US until pretty recently. The main reason they were rarely enforced was because they are very difficult to enforce. However, they were very handle tools to use as threats and excuses to discriminate. Police would harass gay people when they congregated at bars or other places, just as they would harass other “criminals.” Employers would be reluctant to hire people known to be breaking the law. Gay people would be targeted for stings, and the threat of a ten year prison sentence could be used as a weapon to get them to plead down to lesser charges.

      Dec 11, 2013 at 9:38 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • macmantoo
      macmantoo

      Any law that treats LGBT differently is a bad law. We’re moving forward not backwards. I personally make it a point of not traveling to any country that doesn’t treat LGBT as equals.

      Dec 11, 2013 at 10:35 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Daniel-Reader
      Daniel-Reader

      Mazo: you are simply one of those people who desperately needs to believe that people experiencing human rights violations will preserve the rule of law. Just think how many government officials and religious leaders around the globe had that belief too before it was proven otherwise much to their shock in all kinds of situations.

      Dec 11, 2013 at 10:50 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • jwtraveler
      jwtraveler

      @SpunkyBunks: @macmantoo: I wouldn’t want to visit a country where gay people in most of the country don’t have basic civil rights, where gay people are regularly targeted for violence and even murder in the streets and where religious leaders and politicians openly advocate discrimination against and criminalization of gay people including gay youth. That’s it. I’m canceling my trip to the United States of America. Perhaps I’ll head for Canada, Spain or New Zealand.

      Dec 12, 2013 at 12:51 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Pix
      Pix

      This is a country infamous for casual rape and where there are communities of underage girls forced to serve as prostitutes and women who refuse a man’s advances has to fear being disfigured by acid thrown onto her face. Their idea of sexual morality is radically different from mine, sexual morality is something India does not have. (And that’s just sexuality, the corruption of that state is equally infamous and even National Geographic has no shortages of photos of like some fat man laying down smoking while watching mothers with young children perform backbreaking labor just so the children forced to work to might be able to eat that day, and all too many in America have been plagued by numerous con-artists calling them on the phone.)

      Dec 12, 2013 at 4:54 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Pix
      Pix

      ”Today they are talking about men having sexual relationships with men, women with women; tomorrow they will talk of sexual relationships with animals.”

      Today they are talking about denying gays equality and promoting their own religious values; tomorrow they will be burning people at the stake, bring back the Inquisition, and declaration of more insurgencies and holy wars.

      Come to think of it, people ARE killed for the supposed practice of witchcraft in India.

      Dec 12, 2013 at 4:59 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Herlinda S. Osorio
      Herlinda S. Osorio

      Bernard answered I’m alarmed that any one can profit $4765 in four weeks on the computer. you can look her>>> http://bit.do/e4s2

      Dec 12, 2013 at 8:56 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • jwrappaport
      jwrappaport

      @Mazo: Equal protection doesn’t just refer to suffrage and free speech, it refers broadly to the rights enjoyed by everybody else. Gay Indians do not have the same rights that straight Indians do; thus, Indian law does not embody equal protection in any meaningful sense.

      Indian gays can’t legally have sex, have a different age of consent than straights, aren’t legally protected from private or public discrimination, can’t marry or obtain any legal recognition of their unions, can’t serve openly in the military, and can’t adopt. Oh, and they can’t openly criticize the religious superstition that mires their government. In what meaningful sense do Indian gays enjoy equal protection under the law?

      @jwtraveler: I agree, the US has its problems, but there’s no question that we’re at least moving forward. Also, when you say “basic civil rights,” I take those to mean the primary rights upon which all others rest, namely, freedom of movement, freedom from arbitrary arrest, freedom of speech and assembly, the right to a fair trial, suffrage, and freedom of religion. I don’t think there is a colorable argument that gays generally don’t enjoy these rights in the United States. It is true that we lack the rights to marry and to be free from public and private discrimination (in most states), but I am hopeful that the federal courts will continue to rein in abuse by the states.

      Dec 12, 2013 at 10:35 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • zoompietro
      zoompietro

      @YesIDid: I was thinking the same thing. It’s not gays that are overpopulating their country and forcing them to kill young girls. Hard to believe that in the 21st century one of the worlds largest countries places cows above some of its citizens.

      Dec 12, 2013 at 1:54 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

    Add your Comment

    Please log in to add your comment

    Need an account? Register It's free and easy.



  • POPULAR ON QUEERTY

    FOLLOW US
     



    GET QUEERTY'S DAILY NEWSLETTER


    FROM AROUND THE WEB

    Copyright 2014 Queerty, Inc.
    Follow Queerty at Queerty.com, twitter.com/queerty and facebook.com/queerty.