After 62 years of wilful ignorance, the Indian Government has finally seen the light. Delhi High Court today finally struck down Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, which criminalizes gay sex. This ruling today came after years of campaigning, parades and lobbying from intellectuals.
Section 377 was written in 1877, during the British Raj, and was representative of the prudish Victorian mores of the age. The gay population of the capital overflowed onto the streets today, as the historic decision came after years of ostracism and victimisation for them. Overcoming the social taboo is quite another thing, but this is a brilliant start. Gay rights activist Lesley Ashley said on NDTV today, "When I grew up, it seemed to me that I was the only (gay) person." She added, "Today, our nation has taken a huge step to being more of a liberal democracy."
As expected, religious spokespersons from all around the country have reacted strongly against this ruling. The Deoband School of Islam has been quick to declare that homosexuality is a sin and is "against the tenets of any religion, not just Islam." (note the sudden solidarity with other religions here..... lesser evil and all that, I guess.) Spokespersons from the Catholic Church have found the decision to be "shocking and disappointing." They said that "Indian society" would face the repurcusions of the decisions soon.
This confidence of the Catholic Church in "Indian society" and its inevitable rejection of today's ruling is interesting, given that the Church itself has come under fire recently over sordid tales of rampant sexual abuse and corruption.