India's Supreme Court will review law criminalizing gay sex

By REUTERS
February 2, 2016 13:08
1 minute read.

 
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NEW DELHI - India's top court on Tuesday said it will review a decision over whether to uphold a colonial-era law that criminalizes gay sex in a victory for homosexual rights campaigners at a time when the nation is navigating a path between tradition and modernity.

The Supreme Court asked a five-judge bench to examine whether the 1860 law, which imposes a 10-year sentence for gay sex is constitutional, a lawyer for a gay rights group said.

"It is definitely a move forward," lawyer Anand Grover said as activists gathered outside the court cheered.

This was the last legal avenue for campaigners seeking to use the courts to strike down the law. Otherwise, any future decisions to lift the ban will rest with the country's socially conservative politicians who oppose any changes.

The Supreme Court made a surprise ruling in 2013 that reinstated a ban on gay sex. That decision ended a four-year period of decriminalization that helped bring homosexuality into the open in the conservative country.

National surveys show about three-quarters of Indians disapprove of homosexuality and are deeply traditional about other issues of sexuality such as sex outside of marriage.

India is one of 75 countries around the world that outlaws homosexuality, according to the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association.

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