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 community.

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 moved forward.

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.