The Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has said he is “personally saddened” that India’s Supreme Court has reinstated the country’s ban on gay sex.

Writing in a comment piece for PinkNews about the upcoming equal marriage law for England and Wales, Mr Clegg noted recent moves against LGBT rights, specifically noting the Supreme Court ruling in India earlier this week which reinstated Section 377 of the penal code, which bans gay sex.

“And I am personally saddened to see that, in places such as India, that goal has receded further in recent weeks.

“Together, we can inspire and support those still working to achieve reform in their own countries. And, as we celebrate the first same-sex marriages in this country, let us remember that their fight carries on.”

Mr Clegg’s statement comes across as much stronger than the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office, which also issued a short response to the decision, simply saying: “The actions of India’s Supreme Court are a matter for India.”

The response by the FCO appears rather muted compared to previous statements about Russia’s anti-gay laws.

LGBT campaigners in India and around the world reacted with shock at the ruling.

Dr Purna Sen, former Head of Human Rights at the Commonwealth Secretariat and chair of the Kaleidoscope Trust, said: “The Supreme Court’s ruling is a terrible setback for the struggle to secure equal rights for LGBT people, not just in India, but in many of the Commonwealth countries that still enforce colonial era restrictions on the liberties of LGBT people.”

Mr Clegg may also have been referring to the news that, on Thursday, the High Court unanimously ruled that the ACT’s laws were inconsistent with the Federal Marriage Act and were therefore unconstitutional.