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Bollywood stars Aamir Khan, Akshay Kumar and more rejoice as India legalises gay sex

Ella Braidwood September 6, 2018
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Bollywood stars—including Aamir Khan, Akshay Kumar, and Sonam Kapoor—have lauded a historic Supreme Court decision to decriminalise gay sex in India.

The five judges of the Supreme Court were unanimous in their decision to overturn the ban on consensual same-sex relations on Thursday (September 6), which was previously punishable by a sentence up to life in prison.

Since July, the court has been hearing testimonies from celebrities and numerous petitions arguing for gay sex between consenting adults to be legalised.

Indian actor Aamir Khan celebrates as India decriminalises gay sex. (aamir_khan/Twitter)

A number of top Bollywood actors have taken to social media to praise the momentous decision.

Aamir Khan, one of the most successful actors in Indian cinema, posted to his 23 million followers on Twitter: “We thank the Supreme Court for its decision to strike down article 377.

“It is a historic day for people who believe in equal rights for all. The judiciary has done it’s duty, and now we must do ours.”

Khan, who has starred in top films including 3 Idiots (2009) and Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India (2001), also included a clip to his talkshow Satyamev Jayate, which looked at the discrimination LGBT+ people face in India.

Producer and actor Akshay Kumar, who has appeared in more than 100 Hindi films in his more than 25-year long career, tweeted to his nearly 28 million followers: “A historic day for India! Love for all, freedom for all RIP #Section377.”

Bollywood actor have rejoiced at the decriminalisation of gay sex. (akshaykumar/Twitter)

Actor Sonam Kapoor, who starred in Raanjhanaa (2013), Khoobsurat (2014) and Dolly Ki Doli (2015), wrote on Twitter: “This is the india I want to live in. Not one filled with hate, bigotry,sexism homophobia and intolerance. THIS is the India I love. ”

Bollywood actor Sonam Kapoor lauds the Supreme Court’s ruling to legalise gay sex. (sonamakapoor/Twitter)

And Preity Zinta, who played roles in two annual top-grossing films in the country, Koi… Mil Gaya (2003) and Veer-Zaara (2004), wrote: “‘If you have a heart you should be free to love who you want.’ ❤️ So Happy to hear that the Supreme Court of India has abolished #section377 decriminalising Homosexuality.”

Preity Zinta celebrated the court ruling on Twitter.(realpreityzinta/Twitter)

Announcing his judgement to decriminalise gay sex, the Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra said on Thursday (September 6): “Any consensual sexual relationship between two consenting adults – homosexuals, heterosexuals or lesbians – cannot be said to be unconstitutional,” according to Reuters.

With the exception of the years between 2009 and 2013, gay sex has been illegal in India since the introduction of Section 377 in 1861.

The law, made under British colonial rule, banned sexual activity “against the order of nature,” including with another man or woman.

Preity Zinta praised the Supreme Court’s decision to decriminalise gay sex in India. (Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images)

The controversial legislation has been widely used to clamp down on the LGBT+ community in India, which is home to 1.3 billion people.

In 2009, the High Court in Delhi ruled that the 1861 law violated human rights, and legalised homosexual sex between consenting adults.

But just four years later, the Supreme Court reversed the High Court ruling, making gay sex illegal again and outraging LGBT+ rights campaigners across the world.

Activists and LGBT+ rights supporters have welcomed the decision, with Meenakshi Ganguly, the South Asia director for Human Rights Watch, tweeting: “Thanks to all that fought for this, braving the worst sort of prejudice.

“This is a good day for human rights.”

Related topics: Aamir Khan, Akshay Kumar, Asia, Bollywood, decriminalisation of homosexuality, gay sex, India, India, Preity Zinta, section 377, sonam kapoor

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