The Supreme Court of India made a historic ruling yesterday when it declared that LGBTQ+ people have the right to freedom of sexual orientation.
“The rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender population cannot be construed to be ‘so-called rights,'” the ruling states. “Their rights are not ‘so-called’ but are real rights founded on sound constitutional doctrine. They inhere to the right to life. They dwell in privacy and dignity. They constitute the essence of liberty and freedom. Sexual orientation is an essential component of identity. Equal protection demands protection of the identity of every individual without discrimination.”
This decision is a major turn around for the Indian government, however homosexuality is still illegal under Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code.
“India is one of a handful of modern democracies that criminalise same-sex relationships and LGBT people often face blackmail, threats and violence as a result,” wrote the Hindustan Times. “In 2009, the Delhi high court read down section 377 to exclude consenting adults but it was overturned in 2013 by the SC. Thursday’s judgment, however, attacked the reasoning of the 2013 decision, saying the protection of sexual orientation lay athte(sic) core of fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution. “