Gay finally okay in India… sort of…

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Gay Okay in IndiaWhile there is cause for much celebration today  for the LGBT community in India, today’s landmark ruling only applies to the New Delhi… the nation’s capital. But it is progress…

Update: Contrary to initial reports, it appears the ruling DOES apply nation-wide.

The Delhi High Court ruled that treating consensual gay sex between adults as a crime is a violation of fundamental rights protected by India’s constitution. The ruling, the first of its kind in India, is not binding outside New Delhi.

Hours after the ruling was issued dozens of members of New Delhi’s gay community — some with rainbows painted on their faces and others holding signs that read “Queer and loving it” — gathered in the heart of the capital to celebrate.

But some religious leaders quickly criticized the ruling. “This Western culture cannot be permitted in our country,” said Maulana Khalid Rashid Farangi Mahali, a leading Muslim cleric in the northern city of Lucknow.

Sex between people of the same gender has been illegal in India since a British colonial era law was issued in the 1860s classifying it as “against the order of nature.” According to the law, gay sex is punishable by 10 years in prison.

New Delhi is home to over 300 million people, nearly one quarter the entire population of India, so yeah, it’s definitely progress.

Post by ILO on 07/02/09 at 5:00 pm