Lambda Legal Deplores India Supreme Court Ruling Recriminalizing Sexual Intimacy Between Same-Sex Adults

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December 12, 2013
Legal Director Jon W. Davidson

This week, India's Supreme Court overturned an earlier ruling by the Delhi High Court that had decriminalized sexual intimacy between same-sex adults. In 2009, the Delhi High Court ruled Section 377 of the India Penal Code unconstitutional because it denied rights to a certain set of citizens. Under Section 377, individuals convicted for "unnatural offenses," including sexual intimacy within same-sex relationships, could be sentenced to up to 10 years in prison and the sentence could be extended to life imprisonment.

Earlier this year, Lambda Legal marked the 10th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Lawrence v. Texas, our historic case where the court ruled that all remaining state anti-sodomy laws in the United States were unconstitutional. It was gratifying that, on the very day we marked that 10-year anniversary, the Supreme Court issued its ruling in Windsor v. United States and found a key provision of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act similarly unconstitutional.

And yet, now, 10 years after the historic U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Lawrence v. Texas, the highest court in the world's largest democracy has decided to recriminalize sexual intimacy between same-sex adults, a vivid reminder of how much work remains to be done around the globe, where 76 countries still criminalize gay sex. We who have toiled ceaselessly to secure equal rights for LGBT people in this country know firsthand how harmful and hurtful are laws that demean and degrade us and our relationships, simply because of whom we love. Even if such archaic laws are rarely enforced, we have seen how critically important it is that they be eliminated, because they are used to prop up discrimination in employment, parental rights, and recognition of our relationships. We stand in firm and steadfast solidarity with our brothers and sisters in India and join in the global condemnation of this ruling and of this law.

Read the press release.