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India government asks high court to review its decision on anti-gay law

Friday, December 20, 2013
India

Mahesh Kumar A., AP
Indian gay rights activists protest against a Supreme Court verdict that upheld section 377 of the Indian Penal Code that criminalizes homosexuality in Hyderabad, India, Sunday, Dec. 15, 2013.

NEW DELHI — India’s government asked the country’s Supreme Court on Friday to review a decision in which it upheld a colonial-era law that bans homosexual acts and makes them punishable by up to a decade in prison.

Law Minister Kapil Sibal said he hoped the court would overturn the law. “Let’s hope the right to personal choices is preserved,” he said.

The court is expected to take up the review petition soon.

The Supreme Court ruled last week that only lawmakers and not the courts can change the law. The ruling struck down a 2009 lower court decision that said the law violated fundamental human rights.

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The Supreme Court ruling dealt a blow to gay activists who have fought for the chance to live openly in India’s deeply conservative society.

Gautam Bhan, a gay rights activist, welcomed the government move Friday and said the Supreme Court was the forum that should decide the issue.

The law, dating back to the 1860s, when Britain ruled over South Asia, states that “whoever voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal” can be punished by up to 10 years in prison.

According to international human rights groups, more than 70 countries have laws criminalizing homosexual conduct, with India by far the most populous.

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32 more reader comments:

  1. Govt knw what people want…

    Posted on Friday, December 20, 2013 at 5:05pm
  2. no. Hate is wrong. All people should be equal.

    Replied on Friday, December 20, 2013 at 6:16pm
  3. Fight Fight Fight For Equality

    Posted on Friday, December 20, 2013 at 5:15pm
  4. Basically… “Do your job or be sacked!”

    Posted on Friday, December 20, 2013 at 5:25pm
  5. hope for a positive result !!

    Posted on Friday, December 20, 2013 at 5:37pm
  6. NO to gay sex..YES to child rape….ONLY IN India

    Posted on Friday, December 20, 2013 at 5:49pm
  7. The UK’s negative influence on India lingers on. I hope they repeal the law.

    Posted on Friday, December 20, 2013 at 5:56pm
  8. We have equal marriage now in england

    Posted on Friday, December 20, 2013 at 6:02pm
  9. Posted on Friday, December 20, 2013 at 7:25pm
  10. Never? A wise man once told me; ‘never say, never’.

    Posted on Friday, December 20, 2013 at 7:43pm
  11. on this evenings episodes of PIERS , how ISLAM MURDERS AND STONES GAYS. tune in ,LOL

    Posted on Friday, December 20, 2013 at 10:15pm
  12. Come into the 21st century!

    Posted on Friday, December 20, 2013 at 11:25pm
  13. While I agree with the message the sign on her chest is wrong. Love is sometimes wrong just ask a domestic violence victim or a divorcee.

    Posted on Saturday, December 21, 2013 at 8:04pm
  14. Gay marriage hurts nobody, but illegal marriage can hurt tons of lovers. Anyone who disagrees obviously doesn’t care much about people and their pursuit of happiness. I honestly don’t understand how someones relationship can affect others lives in anyway. It only “effects” you if you allow it to.

    Posted on Saturday, December 21, 2013 at 8:26pm
  15. They only care about scripture anyways.

    Replied on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 3:50am
  16. I hope they make the right decision this time.

    Posted on Saturday, December 21, 2013 at 8:26pm
  17. Well Daniel Lazzara that aint love is it?!!! How is that funny Sbosh E Mahlangu ? True Sabrina Eden but Marriage is not the issue. marriage is not the sole and primary aim of the lgbtiaq its recognition of humanity and achievement of equality.

    Posted on Saturday, December 21, 2013 at 9:11pm
  18. Umm you can say its not "real" love all you like but ask anyone that was in those relationships prior to it going south and they were "sooooooooooooooo in love" Emotion can blind you to reality so Love can lead you to the wrong person. Anyone that wants to argue otherwise is blind.

    Replied on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 3:54am
  19. The Court threw the ball back to Indian Parliament and Parliament wants the Court to review it’s own decision……sounds like a Mexican standoff!

    Posted on Saturday, December 21, 2013 at 10:18pm
  20. Domestic violence is a symptom of sickness and has nothing to do with real love

    Posted on Saturday, December 21, 2013 at 10:51pm
  21. And how do you think people end up in abusive relationships? Do you think the abuser goes " Hey I am going to manipulate you and hurt you for a few years wanna hang out?" No the person they abuse falls in love with them. Yesh ya think it would be a simple logic issue to see that love can be wrong but Ive got to spell it out for some people.....

    Replied on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 3:56am
  22. yes, we can do it!

    Posted on Saturday, December 21, 2013 at 11:55pm
  23. these clowns have a billion people, enough already

    Posted on Saturday, December 21, 2013 at 11:56pm
  24. Well done to the Indian government for sending this sorry decision back to the country’s clearly archaic Judicial system for review…I hope the high Judges of India get the hint and do the right thing. The world is changing, they cannot hold back the tide. Peace x

    Posted on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 12:24am
  25. Nav

    Posted on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 12:34am
  26. How could Ghandi’s country support these laws??

    Posted on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 3:49am
  27. No Daniel Lazzara.. that belief is the problem and in fact one of the drivers. Love is not a driver of abuse. Ppl dont just end up in abusive relationships. Intimate partner and domestic violence in all forms is driven by patriarchal attitudes, gender inequality, economic disempowerment and the inherent misogyny of male privilege. (Pls dont respond with the trite ‘men suffer violence too..they do on occasion but its a far cry from pandemic proportions) but this is all a digression. LGBTI equality for gender equality

    Posted on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 4:57am
  28. Henry it’s India, bro. Maybe in 2050.

    Posted on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 7:07am
  29. We love our lesbian women activists !

    Posted on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 9:03am
  30. If India thinks it can launch into this, the XXIst Century dragging along the rotting corpse of its Colonial Masters’ most unjust laws, it clearly is not ready to join the ranks of those Nations that have moved on from THE STONE AGE!

    Posted on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 11:18am
  31. Posted on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 11:27am