Same-sex sexual relations are no longer criminal offences in India after the Indian Supreme Court struck down India’s colonial-era sodomy law known as Section 377.
The unanimous ruling came after the Supreme Court in January said it would reconsider its 2013 ruling. It held oral arguments in a case that challenged Section 377 in July.
The Delhi High Court in 2009 struck down the statute, but the Supreme Court in 2013 overruled the ruling. Indian lawmakers in 2015 rejected a bill that would have repealed Section 377.
Activists across India, which is the world’s second-most populous country, and around the world celebrated Thursday’s landmark ruling.
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🏳️🌈 Histórico fallo en #India: ya no será delito la homosexualidad. La #comunidadgay de la India celebró el fallo de la Corte Suprema que estableció que ser un homosexual en el país ya no es un delito y que su penalización niega derechos fundamentales. La máxima instancia judicial del país consideró inconstitucional un viejo artículo del código penal que condenaba las relaciones sexuales entre personas del mismo sexo y esta nación, la segunda más poblada del planeta, protagonizó un histórico paso hacia la igualdad de los derechos de sus ciudadanos. 📷 AFP
“Today we are feeling very proud,” Meera Parida, president of All Odisha Kinnar Mahasangh, a group that advocates on behalf of India’s transgender and gender-variant communities, told the Washington Blade.
“It is a win for humanity.”
Ruth Baldacchino and Helen Kennedy, co-secretaries general of ILGA, in a statement also welcomed the ruling.
“We rejoice with all sexual, gender and sex minorities communities in India,” they said.
“As of today, a shameful part of an enduring colonial legacy is finally history.
“We hope that this ruling, which was made possible by the tireless work of many human rights advocates, will have an impact also on other countries around the world where our communities continue to live under the shadow of oppressive criminal laws, especially those that share a common legal heritage with India, as far afield as Africa, the Pacific and Caribbean.”
India is the latest country to decriminalize consensual same-sex sexual relations.
A judge on Trinidad and Tobago’s High Court in April struck down the country’s colonial-era sodomy law.
The chief justice of the Belize Supreme Court in 2016 ruled a statute that criminalized consensual same-sex sexual relations in the country is unconstitutional.
British Prime Minister Theresa May in April said she “deeply” regrets colonial-era sodomy laws the U.K. introduced in Commonwealth countries.
Jamaica, Barbados and Kenya are among the dozens of countries in which consensual same-sex sexual acts remain criminalized.
We welcome the Indian #SupremeCourt judgement on #Section377. Nobody should face persecution or discrimination because of who they are or who they love. The UK continues to support #LGBT and equal rights across the world #LoveIsLove pic.twitter.com/zfyNvyFnwT
— UK in India🇬🇧🇮🇳 (@UKinIndia) September 6, 2018