Indian ruling party says it is ‘for decriminalising homosexuality’

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The ruling party in India has vowed to decriminalise homosexuality, saying while gay people are rejected by some, they should be accepted.

On 11 December 2013 India’s Supreme Court upheld a colonial-era law which criminalises same-sex sexual activity.

It overturned a 2009 New Delhi High Court decision that ruled the law unconstitutional.

The ruling caused outrage among LGBT activists and many of the county’s politicians.

Speaking to an Indian news channel earlier this week, Shaina NC, the Bharatiya Janata Party spokesperson for Mumbai, said: “We are for decriminalising homosexuality. That is the progressive way forward.”

Continuing, when asked whether the BJP would introduce legislation to re-overturn the gay sex ban, she said: “That’s for our party leaders to deliberate and discuss on. There can always be mixed opinions on a particular issue and especially an issue like this which is very out of the box so to say vis-a-vis our traditional culture.

“There is bound to be some kind of resistance. But I don’t think we can have blinkers on and to make ourselves believe that there is no LGBT community in this country.”

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, earlier this week condemned India for the ban, saying it was “intolerant”.

The government in Goa also announced this week that it plans to attempt to “cure” LGBT people and make them “normal”, using therapy and “medicines”.

Attempts by campaigners to reverse the Supreme Court ruling have so far failed.

A curative petition by the Indian Government, requiring a five-judge panel of the Supreme Court to intervene in the appeal of Section 377, has yet to be taken up.

Section 377 of India’s penal code bans “sex against the order of nature”, which is widely interpreted to mean gay sex, and can be punished with up to 10 years in jail. The rule dates back to the days of British colonial rule in India.

So far prosecutions under the law have remained rare – although seven men were arrested under suspicion of breaking Section 377 in Bangalore earlier this summer

A pride march in protest of the law took place in Delhi at the end of last month.