Protests Follow India Supreme Court's Reinstatement of Gay Sex Ban
India's Supreme Court ruled Wednesday to reinstate a ban on gay sex. Their decision overturned a 2009 Delhi High Court decision finding that Section 377 of the penal code, the 153-year-old colonial-era law criminalizing gay relationships, was discriminatory and violated human rights.
Violating the law can be punished with up to 10 years in jail. Although the BBC reports that the law is rarely used for prosecution, it is often used by police to harass gay people. "This decision is a body-blow to people's rights to equality, privacy and dignity," said G. Ananthapadmanabhan of Amnesty International India in a statement.
Although various conservative groups had petitioned the two-judge Supreme Court to reinstate the ban, the decision prompted protests in cities across India and dismay from Indian leaders.
"To say in this day and age that LGBT rights should not be recognized is extremely regressive and extremely disappointing," said Finance Minister P. Chidambaram.
India's parliament can vote to change or remove Section 377, or the government can file a curative petition to have the case reviewed quickly by a five-judge panel.
Media Resources: BBC 12/11/13; LGBTQNation 12/12/13; Reuters 12/12/13