India's Supreme Court Determines Freedom of Sexual Orientation Is Constitutionally-Protected Right

Image via Getty.
Image via Getty.

On Thursday, India’s Supreme Court ruled that sexual orientation is protected under the country’s right to privacy law.

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The Huffington Post reports that the court did not go so far as to overturn any of India’s laws that criminalize same-sex relationships, but the decision paves the way for such laws to be challenged as discriminatory in court. The nine judges who made the ruling were overturning a previous decision from 2013, in which that Supreme Court panel named LGBT protections “so-called rights” and argued that anti-LGBT law Section 377 affected only a “minuscule minority” of the country and could stay on the books.

In explaining their reasoning, the judges condemned this language and defended the concept of sexual orientation falling under the constitutional protection of privacy.

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“Sexual orientation is an essential attribute of privacy,” says the decision. “Discrimination against an individual on the basis of sexual orientation is deeply offensive to the dignity and self-worth of the individual. Equality demands that the sexual orientation of each individual in society must be protected on an even platform.”

Contributing Writer, writing my first book for the Dial Press called The Lonely Hunter, follow me on Twitter @alutkin

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DISCUSSION

I am honestly shocked by this. And extremely happy.

Given Modi’s history of using religion to divide, that this appear in his tenure is stunning to me. And one can (rightly) argue that Hinduism has been historically more lenient as to unconventional pairings, but the BJP tends towards a far more purist take.

I’m so curious as to whether this might not be the Supreme Court’s rebuke to Modi, or if the BJP approved. Hope someone with more knowledge can weigh in on the judicial/political aspect....

ETA: I believe that Gandhi would approve. ♡