A new day in New Delhi

A new day in New Delhi

The gay and lesbian citizens of New Delhi have won a 10-year battle to see homosexuality de-criminalised.
Delhi’s High Court made a landmark decision to overturn a 148-year-old law which made consensual homosexual acts illegal, with a punishment of up to 10 years in jail.

It was deemed that such a law contravened citzens rights to equality, guaranteed under the Indian Constitution.

The criminalisation of homosexuality condemns in perpetuity a sizable section of society and forces them to live their lives in the shadow of harassment, exploitation, humiliation, cruel and degrading treatment at the hands of the law enforcement machinery, the court ruled.

Anjali Goplan, the executive director of the Naz Foundation (India) Trust, the sexual health organisation who lead the charge to see India’s laws changed, was speechless when asked to comment last week.

I’m so excited I haven’t been able to process the news yet … we’ve entered the 21st century, Goplan told reporters.

The International LGBTI Association welcomed the news and said that it brought hope to other countries.

It is a historic verdict which affects one fifth of the world population and one of the biggest countries in the world, ILGA secretary general Renato Sabbadini said.

We hope to see the example of India followed by all those countries whose laws against LGBTI people are the result of colonial rule and we hope one day to see India joining the signatories of the UN Statement for the universal decriminalisation of homosexual acts.

Before that day though, India will have to undergo a process to see homosexuality de-criminalised across the country.

Thursday’s ruling only offers protections to the citizens of New Delhi, though as one of India’s largest cities, it is considered that it will have a persuasive effect on other regions to follow suit.

Read more about the judgement:

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8 responses to “A new day in New Delhi”

  1. What is interesting is the section 377 Penal Code common-law from Colonial England is still in force in Pakistain, Bangladesh, Buneni, Shi Lanka.

    Both Singapore and Malaysia have letters next to the numbered sections that crimilize sodomy, for example section 377A in Singapore and section(s) 377A, 377B, 377C and 377D.
    Note: In 2007, section 377 got amended from “against the order of nature” to “nacrophilia”. It just leaves section 377A gross indenceny between males (the same law that crimilized Oscar Wilde in 1907).


  2. It is actually called Western Samoa, because there is American Samoa (a US territory) – just east of Western Samoa. Guam is also another US territory – they are currently debating the “seperate-but-equal” [civil unions bill 2009] on the island.

  3. Cook Islands and Samoa (Its not called Western Samoa anymore) although still have it in law, don’t actually enforce it anymore, I know many Islanders who live over there who are completely open about their sexuality and have never had trouble with the law.

  4. GREAT NEWS FOR 100 MILLINON GAYS IN INDIA [10 percent figure]!!!!!!

    Here is a list of countries that still have the old English colonial sodomy laws on the books (80 in total):

    Jamaica and many Carribbean islands such as Belize, and islands that start with “St.”, such as St. Luica, St Vincines”, etc.

    Papua New Guinea (just next door to us)
    Narue (just next door to us)
    Solomon Islands (just next door to us)
    Cook Islands (despite being a territory of New Zealand)

    Note on Cook Islands: The reason Cook Island has a sodomy law is because New Zealand does not control the Cook Islands and the Cook Islands is planning FULL Inderpendence from New Zealand sometime in the near future.

    Western Samoa (planned to be repealed soon)

    One South American country, Guyana (the only English speaking nation in South America)

    And many African and Middle Eastern nations (Iran, Pakastain, Syria, Lebanon, Zimbabwe, Togo, Morroco, Sudan, etc).

    Homosexuality is NOT – I repeat NOT illegal in Egypt, Nepal, Cape Verne, all US states, Fiji, Nigugaua, Panama, all territories of New Zealand (except Cook Islands listed above), Iraq and Purto Rico.

    ALL OF NORTH AMERICA AND EUROPE do not have any sodomy laws [yes, life is great]!!!!