India’s Supreme Court is preparing to rule on Section 377, the colonial-era law banning homosexual acts, for the first time since 2013, when it upheld the statute in a result that shocked many observers.
LGBT+ advocates’ hopes are high for a repeal. Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently said that the federal government would not oppose decriminalization, and will instead leave the matter “to the wisdom” of the court.
In an interview with The Independent, Anjali Gopalan, director and founder of the Naz Foundation HIV charity, discussed the importance of decriminalization: “Just think about it – we have been stuck in the Middle Ages.The same people who wrote this law already changed it in their country. There is no reason for a country like ours to be sharing the same point of view as Pakistan, Bangladesh, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.”
Gopalan added, “If we claim to be a democracy, then we need to behave like one. We are denying rights to people who are citizens of our country, based on who they want to live with and who they love.”
After hearings conclude this week, the Supreme Court will issue its ruling in four to six weeks.
The decision will be watched closely by advocates in other Commonwealth nations where gay sex is still outlawed under colonial-era statutes.
Read more at The Independent