India's law minister on Thursday
signaled that the government would work to repeal a law banning gay
sex in the world's largest democracy.
The minister, Kapil Sibal, spoke a day
after India's Supreme Court unanimously upheld Section 377 of India's
penal code, a holdover from British colonial rule that outlaws
consensual sex “against the order of nature,” which is widely
understood to mean homosexual acts.
“We need to take quick and firm
action,” Sibal told reporters, adding that he's among the millions
of people in India who oppose Section 377.
While the law is rarely invoked, gay
rights activists say it encourages discrimination against the LGBT
Wednesday's ruling shocked activists
and their supporters, because the high court had refused to put on
hold a landmark 2009 lower court judgment declaring intercourse
between two consenting members of the same sex legal while an appeal
The Supreme Court ruled that only
lawmakers could change the law.
“I hope Parliament will address this
issue and uphold the constitutional guarantee of life and liberty to
all citizens of India, including those directly affected by this
judgment,” Sonia Gandhi, chief of the governing Congress party,
said in a statement.