Newspaper article International New York Times

A New Chance for Gay Rights in India

Newspaper article International New York Times

A New Chance for Gay Rights in India

Article excerpt

An unjust, colonial-era law could soon be consigned to history.

On Tuesday, India's Supreme Court took a welcome step toward opening the door to equal rights for gay, lesbian and transgender citizens. Citing the "constitutional importance" of a petition to reverse its 2013 ruling upholding Section 377 of India's Penal Code - - which criminalizes "carnal intercourse against the order of nature" -- the three-judge panel decided to refer the petition to a five-judge panel headed by India's chief justice.

Section 377, which dates back to 1861, has rarely been enforced, but it has been used to harass and blackmail gays, lesbians and transgender people. In 2009, the Delhi High Court struck the law down, ruling that Section 377 violated the rights to liberty and equality enshrined in India's Constitution. But in 2013, the Supreme Court voided the lower court's ruling, saying it was up to India's Parliament to change the law. …

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