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Emotional Celebrations In India As Top Court Legalises Gay Sex

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Emotional Celebrations In India As Top Court Legalises Gay Sex

India's Supreme Court has ruled that gay sex is no longer a criminal offence in the country.

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The ruling marks a historic and groundbreaking day meaning gay sex is no longer a criminal offence.

It overturns a 2013 judgement that upheld a colonial-era law, known as section 377, under which gay sex is categorised as an "unnatural offence".

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Credit: PA
Credit: PA

Emotional campaigners, outside the court, were seen cheering and some broke down into tears as the ruling was handed down.

While reading out his statement Chief Justice Dipak Misra said: "Criminalising carnal intercourse is irrational, arbitrary and manifestly unconstitutional."

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This is the light at the end of the tunnel for the gay and transgender community in India who have long fought against section 377

If someone was charged with section 377 they faced a 10-year jail sentence for 'unnatural sex'.

Credit: PA
Credit: PA

The landmark decision overturns more than 150 years of anti-LGBT+ legislation.

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Five Supreme Court judges repealing the law and legalising gay sex between consenting adults comes as a major victory for India's LGBT+ activists and supporters after years of injustice.

In court filings that stretched for hundreds of pages, more than two dozen petitioners related the emotional cost of living their closeted lives.

This covered the bouts of depression, the abuse, the persecution, the blackmail and the coming-out journeys they had made while living under a shadow that made their most intimate behavior illegal.

"This ruling is hugely significant," said Meenakshi Ganguly, the South Asia director for Human Rights Watch.

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The country of India has the worl'd second largest population and, therefore, is home to many millions of gay people.

Ms. Ganguly said the ruling could set an example for nations with similar colonial-era laws to end their 'discriminatory, regressive treatment' of gay and transgender citizens.

India's strict laws over same-sex relationships and sex came under British Colonial Rule.

In the 1860s the British introduced Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code - at this time it could impose up to a life sentence on 'whoever voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature'.

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Credit: PA
Credit: PA

The law was usually enforced in cases of sex between men - but it extended to anybody caught having anal or oral sex.

Anjali Gopalan, founder of the Naz Foundation, which spearheaded the fight against Section 377, told CNN: "The next step is to start looking at issues of rights. Right now, it is just decriminalsing.

"The right that every citizen of the country should have access to and should not be taken for granted. Like the right to marry, the right to adopt, the right to inherit.

"Things that no one questions and that are clearly denied to a certain section of citizens."

It seems like more and more places are finally willing to accept love is love - despite gender or sexual preference.

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: Breaking, World News, News, LGBT, India

Rachael Grealish
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