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Ban Ki-moon: India’s gay sex ban is ‘intolerant’

Joseph McCormick January 13, 2015

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has criticised India’s gay sex ban, saying it is “intolerant”.

On 11 December 2013 India’s Supreme Court upheld a colonial-era law which criminalises same-sex sexual activity.

It overturned a 2009 New Delhi High Court decision that ruled the law unconstitutional.

The ruling caused outrage among LGBT activists and many of the county’s politicians.

The UN Secretary General said: “I am proud to stand for the equality of all people – including those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender,” the UN secretary general said in a statement late Monday.

“I speak out because laws criminalising consensual, adult same-sex relationships violate basic rights to privacy and to freedom from discrimination. Even if they are not enforced, these laws breed intolerance.”

The government in Goa also announced this week that it plans to attempt to “cure” LGBT people and make them “normal”, using therapy and “medicines”.

Attempts by campaigners to reverse the Supreme Court ruling have so far failed.

A curative petition by the Indian Government, requiring a five-judge panel of the Supreme Court to intervene in the appeal of Section 377, has yet to be taken up.

Section 377 of India’s penal code bans “sex against the order of nature”, which is widely interpreted to mean gay sex, and can be punished with up to 10 years in jail. The rule dates back to the days of British colonial rule in India.

So far prosecutions under the law have remained rare – although seven men were arrested under suspicion of breaking Section 377 in Bangalore earlier this summer

A pride march in protest of the law took place in Delhi at the end of last month.

More: Asia, Ban Ki Moon, gay sex ban, India, India, penal code

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