In one of the biggest rulings of the year, India legalizes gay intercourse, with thousands celebrating not only in India, but across the world.
Sometimes, living in America, many do not realize how lucky they are. While it is not a utopia, or perfect by any means, America has progressed far in human rights.
However, this year marks a landmark for members of the LGBT+ community, as India has recently announced a major ruling: Gay intercourse has now been decriminalized.
While for some that sounds ridiculous, because it is only gay intercourse, this means so much for LGBT people in India. In any place that is not a wealthy, first world European country, North America, or even South America, this is major.
Surprisingly, only 27 countries have legalized gay marriage, while 71 countries still criminalize same-sex relationships.
The only African country that opposes the criminalization of same-sex relations is South Africa, which is one of the 27 that have legalized gay marriage. The death penalty for “homosexual acts” is still in place in eight nations.
India will be joining the list of countries that have decriminalized gay intercourse, which has over 100 countries.
So, for many people in India, this ruling is life-changing.
This ruling has been debated in Delhi High Court since 2001, specifically to repeal Section 377, which criminalized certain sexual acts, this including gay intercourse.
While the High Court stated the addendum that criminalizes gay intercourse has been removed, it does still stand that certain sexual acts, such as that with animals, are still criminalized.
Section 377 has been in place for over 150 years, originally instituted by the British government when India was still its colony.
While it was not enforced too harshly, people have gone to prison for violating Section 377, such as a Arif Jafar, a man who had spent 49 days in prison for this violation.
Nonetheless, this recent court ruling, which actually overturns an original judgment from 2013 that still abided by Section 377, was decided by a five-judge bench jury. The judgment in 2013 was made by the Supreme Court when the High Court ruled in favor of decriminalization in 2009, striking down their ruling.
However, the High Court cited that the decision to criminalize gay intercourse is a violation of human rights, and unconstitutional in regards to privacy towards citizens. They stated that LGBT people have the right to privacy in their love lives.
Despite this ruling, India is still a very conservative country, with large religious groups and political parties having been opposed to advancements in gay rights, though the political parties protested more quietly.
It has been noted that it will take time before many citizens in India will completely warm to the idea of gay intercourse being legalized, as this is still considered a very taboo topic, especially in Asian countries.
Of course, this does not change the fact that gay marriage is not legalized. Many fear that religious groups will increase their opposition and campaign against gay rights, especially marriage.
Despite the fact, India still has many hurdles to leap, mainly also instating anti-discrimination laws, but this marks a victory for many LGBT people in India and is the first step to change and acceptance.
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