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Despite victory, LGBT people's struggle for right to marriage, adoption, inheritance "continues"

By Our Representative
Calling the Supreme Court order, that criminalizing consensual same-sex conduct is unconstitutional, as a major victory for “human rights and the LGBT people’s rights to privacy and non-discrimination”, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said, LGBT people in India have suffered “widespread discrimination, sanctioned by a discriminatory law” and been “vulnerable to violence and extortion, including by the police.”
Saying that it has international significance, HRW added, “Over 70 countries, including many in the Commonwealth, still criminalize consensual same-sex relations. Kenya and Botswana, both of which inherited versions of the Indian penal code during the colonial period, currently have cases pending before their courts that would also strike down laws outlawing consensual same-sex conduct. Other countries in which courts have struck down sodomy laws in recent years include Trinidad and Tobago (2018), and Belize (2015).”
“Striking down Section 377 is a momentous step that will resonate around the world in communities that are fighting for equality,” Meenakshi Ganguly of HRW said. “But like other countries, India has significant work to do to ensure that the rights of people who have been long marginalized on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity are fully protected.”
Amnesty International said the Supreme Court ruling “marks a new era of equality for millions of people in India”, adding, “The Court’s unanimous verdict has upheld the right to equality, privacy, dignity and freedom of expression of all people regardless of their sexual orientation… Section 377 as it stood, violated basic human rights standards on equality, privacy and dignity.”
“While today’s judgement answers the constitutional invalidity of Section 377, the struggle for the rights of LGBTI people continues, including in relation to marriage, adoption or inheritance”, said Amnesty’s Asmita Basu.

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