India's Supreme Court on Wednesday
reinstated a ban on gay sex.
In 2009 – just days after gay
activists staged Gay Pride parades in several cities for the first
time – the Delhi High Court of India declared intercourse between
two consenting members of the same sex legal.
The verdict overturned a law that
banned gay sex in India, a holdover from British colonial rule, known
as Section 377 of India's penal code. Violators of the law face up
to 10 years in jail.
The Supreme Court threw out the lower
court's ruling, saying only lawmakers could change Section 377.
Because the high court had refused to
put on hold the lower court's landmark judgment as an appeal moved
forward, Wednesday's ruling shocked gay rights activists.
“You can't go back in the closet.
There isn't any such closet now that I can go back to,” gay rights
activist Ashok Row Kavi told the AFP. “The point is that people
are going to get very, very afraid. Those who are in the closet are
not going to come out so easily, one. And secondly, those who are
out, now have to really be want it, about how their lives are going
“It's a black day for us,” Anjali
Gopalan, executive director of the Naz Foundation, which worked on
the legal challenge, told Reuters. “I feel exhausted right now,
thinking that we have been set back by 100 years.”
Baba Ramdev, a Hindu spiritual leader
opposed to gay rights, said that the Supreme Court's ruling honors
“the sentiments of Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Christians and those who
believe in morality.”
“Today they are talking about men
having sexual relationships with men, women with women; tomorrow they
will talk of sexual relationships with animals,” Ramdev