Main | Sunday, February 23, 2014

INDIA: Law Criminalizing Homosexuality May Be Years From Being Repealed

The Independent reports:
When [in 2009] the Delhi High Court suspended the draconian Section 377 of the Indian penal code which dated from the days of British rule, India’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community thought there was no turning back. Five years on the euphoria has gone. In December, the country’s highest court overturned the lower court’s ruling, once again making gay sex a crime punishable by up to ten years in jail and putting tens of millions of Indians at risk of prosecution or harassment. Last month, that court – which had said gay people in India were just a “minuscule minority” – upheld its decision against an appeal and said it was up to the government to change the law. But there is little chance for that. While senior figures of the ruling Congress party supported repealing Section 377, the leadership of the main opposition party, which most analysts believe is set to secure power in an upcoming election, do not. As it was, the current parliament held its last session on Friday; it could be years before a new parliament amends the law.
With a population of more than 1.3 billion, India has at least 65 million LGBT citizens, if one uses the 5% estimate. That is HARDLY a "minuscule minority." In fact, using the 5% figure, the LGBT community in India is larger than the entire populations of more than 200 nations. Only 20 countries have populations greater than 65 million. Even if you cut the 5% estimate in half, the LGBT community in India is larger than the entire population of Canada.

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