india

Will the World’s Biggest Democracy Finally Let Gay Sex Go Unpunished?

India may be the globe’s largest democracy, but a 150-year-old rule on the books certainly appears to limit individual freedom: the one that makes same-sex sex a crime. Now, an effort to repeal it: “India is one of the few professed liberal democracies in the world that still has such a law. The others are mostly Islamic or authoritarian, and even China lifted its ban in 1997. Successive governments have long argued that Indian society is too conservative to accept repealing Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code — under which sex ‘against nature’ is punishable by up to ten years in prison. India’s leaders have come under increasing pressure in recent years from activists who say that the law, introduced in 1860, violates civil liberties and encourages the spread of HIV by forcing homosexuals underground. The new Government that took power in May after the Congress Party’s surprise election victory has indicated that it is ready to change the law, which is at present being challenged in the Delhi High Court, according to Indian media reports.”