Could India Overturn Its 157 Year Old Gay Sex Ban?

The law in question has criminalized homosexuality since 1861.

The Indian Supreme Court has begun hearing on cases to possibly decriminalize gay sex, and in turn, queerness.

As The Guardian reports, activists will begin hearing statements urging the court to overturn an 1861 law banning homosexuality. The case made its way to the Supreme Court when five years ago, a ban on gay sex was reinstated after a four-year decriminalization had been passed.

Lawyers have petitioned for the law to be challenged, to make consensual interactions between adults legal.

Anjali Gopalan, the founder of New Dehli-based organization Naz Foundation, spoke on the impact of this ruling being heard at the Supreme Court: “The momentum has built up for this moment. We have a clutch of petitions from people from all walks of life. We have celebrities giving their personal testimony. Then we have had an important ruling recently by the courts upholding privacy. And we have seen a shift in recent years, more people coming out to take a stand. The gates have opened, as it were, and you can’t close them now.”

Celebrities will be among those who are expected to speak out about the criminalization of homosexuality. But following last August’s ruling for all Indians citizens’ right to privacy, there is optimism surrounding the possibility of decriminalizing homosexuality in the country.

“As society changes, values change,” Mukul Rohatgi, a senior lawyer appearing for the lead petitioner, told the bench of five judges hearing the case. “What was moral 160 years ago might not be moral today.”

Writer for NewNowNext, Refinery29, Wear Your Voice, BitchMedia, etc. Budding sex educator. @NerdsOfPreycast cohort. She/Her.
@BlkGirlManifest