India throws out ban on gay sex, but challenges remain

India's top court to rule on decriminalizing gay sex

Justice Malhotra reportedly said that history owed an apology to the members of the LGBT community and their families for the delay in providing redressal for the ignominy and ostracism that they have suffered through the centuries.

"We cannot change history but can pave a way for a better future", said Justice D.Y. Chandrachud.

In a conservative country, political parties have steered clear of declaring their position openly on gay rights but the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party had told the court that it will support whatever decision it takes.

Similar gatherings were held across India, with LGBT community members handing out chocolates in the southern city of Chennai, while gay activists rejoiced on Twitter.

Celebrations broke out all around the nation as the LGBTQ community welcomed the SC verdict on Section 377, asserting that the "historic" verdict granted them a basic human right but also acknowledging that complete equality was still some distance away.

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Suri's dancers wore rainbow makeup and bright Indian outfits to mark the end of the notorious Section 377 of the penal code, which until Thursday banned same-sex acts as "carnal intercourse against the order of nature".

The bench said courts must protect the dignity of an individual as right to live with dignity is recognised as fundamental right.

"Any consensual sexual relationship between two consenting adults - homosexuals, heterosexuals or lesbians - can not be said to be unconstitutional", said the Chief Justice of India, Dipak Misra, as he read out the judgment.

"So proud today! Decriminalizing homosexuality and abolishing section 377 is a huge thumb up for humanity and equal rights!"

Seeking decriminalisation of consensual homosexuality, the NGO Naaz Foundation had first challenged Section 377 in the Delhi High Court in 2001.

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LGBTQ activist Anjali Nazia said the Supreme Court had paved way for bigger judgements ahead.

She had urged the judges to "emancipate a class of people who have not been given the promises of our Constitution". "We know we have a long way to go in terms of right to adoption, right to marriage but it is a very welcome beginning", Joshi said. That the law must not discriminate is one aspect of equality.

The Congress hailed the SC verdict decriminalising consensual gay sex as "momentous" and said that it is an important step forwards towards a liberal and tolerant society.

Sparks says the court ruling will not impact how India Partners presents the gospel in India and will focus on teaching God's commands knowing it impacts the church and the community because Christians can be a model for the community.

Breaking down after hearing the verdict outside the Supreme Court in New Delhi, corporate employee Ali Ahmad Faraz, said "I am no longer a criminal in my country for a crime I never committed".

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