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India’s Gay Sex Ban Still Stands

Shashi Tharoor

A bill to decriminalise gay sex has been blocked by right-wing members of India’s government.

Parliamentarians from India’s right-wing government blocked a private member’s bill to decriminalise gay sex on Friday 18th December.

Congress member of Parliament, Shashi Tharoor, sought to amend Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code that criminalises homosexual acts. Section 377 states that “whoever voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal shall be punished”.

But the movement failed after the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party voted 71-24 against it, with others refusing to vote.

In 2009, the Delhi High Court ruled that prohibiting gay sex was a violation of a person’s fundamental rights, but was overruled in 2013 when India’s Supreme Court restored the original 1861 law banning homosexuality. Although prosecutions have been rare, sentences include life imprisonment.

Tharoor told AFP: “This is not about homosexuality as the opposition has caricatured it. It is about freedom, justice, equality of treatment and upholding the values enshrined in our Constitution.

“This law is from the 1860s and it has no place in the 21st century nor in people’s private lives or in their bedrooms.”

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