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India rights activists dismayed by gay sex ruling

Wednesday, December 11, 2013 - 01:34

Dec. 11 - India's rights activists are dismayed after the Supreme Court threw out a lower court decision that decriminalizes gay sex. Mana Rabiee reports.

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Just three weeks ago, India's gay community was celebrating its gay pride parade. It was also expecting India's Supreme Court to - very soon -- rubber stamp a landmark lower court ruling. One that decriminalizes gay sex in the world's largest democracy. But on Wednesday -- dismay. Instead of affirming the ruling, the court threw it out. Effectively re-criminalizing gay sex. (SOUNDBITE) (English) A JOURNALIST AND GAY RIGHTS ACTIVIST, ASHOK ROW KAVI, SAYING: "I didn't expect that this court will make such a huge setback to us. To me, it is unbelievable that a judge has not understood the constitutional rights of the citizens like me." With Wednesday's decision, India's legal stance on gay sex reverts back to nineteenth century colonial rule. It's a setback not just for gay rights, but for human rights, says Assistant Solicitor General Indira Jaising. (SOUNDBITE) (English) ADDITIONAL SOLICITOR GENERAL, INDIRA JAISING, SAYING: "I think that a historic opportunity to expand constitutional values has been lost…I think it is imposition of a medieval mindset on the people of this country." The ruling was largely on technical grounds. The Supreme Court said only parliament can change the law on gay sex, and that the lower court had overstepped its powers. But with general elections coming up in May, in a still largely conservative country, it's unlikely the government will take up the issue any time soon.

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India rights activists dismayed by gay sex ruling

Wednesday, December 11, 2013 - 01:34