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Indian MP says homosexuality is ‘a genetic disorder like having six fingers’ after gay sex is legalised

Josh Jackman September 6, 2018
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Subramanian Swamy, Indian Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) senior leader and Rajya Sabha (MP) delivers a speech during a journalists conference ahead of the Narad Jayanti in Amritsar on April 29, 2018. - Narad Jayanti is the birth anniversary of Narada Muni which falls on May 1. In some parts of India Narada Jayanti is also known as Patrakar Diwas (Journalist Day) because Devrishi Narada is considered the precursor of journalists and musicians. (Photo by NARINDER NANU / AFP) (Photo credit should read NARINDER NANU/AFP/Getty Images)

Subramanian Swamy is a former cabinet minister (NARINDER NANU/AFP/Getty)

An MP in India’s ruling party has called homosexuality “a genetic disorder like someone having six fingers” in response to the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down the country’s ban on gay sex.

Subramanian Swamy, who represents the governing Bharatiya Janata Party in the Parliament’s upper house, also said the ruling would lead to a spread of HIV.

Today’s (September 6) unanimous ruling overturned Section 377, a 157-year-old law put in place by the British Empire which made gay sex punishable by a sentence up to life in prison.

Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Subramanian Swamy flashes a victory sign as he leaves the Patiala House court in New Delhi on December 8, 2015. Swamy filed a case against rival politicians Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi alleging fraud and land grabbing in an ongoing saga known as the "National Herald case". AFP PHOTO / PRAKASH SINGH / AFP / PRAKASH SINGH (Photo credit should read PRAKASH SINGH/AFP/Getty Images)
The politician represents the country’s governing party (PRAKASH SINGH/AFP/Getty)

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

So it’s understandable that the LGBT+ community in the country exploded with happiness and relief at the news, with many activists and celebrities — including several Bollywood stars — rushing to praise the decision.

This did not include Swamy, a 78-year-old former party president and cabinet minister, who called on the next government to lean on justices and overturn today’s ruling.

Indian members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community celebrate outside the Supreme Court after the decision to strike down the colonial-era ban on gay sex in New Delhi on September 6, 2018. - India's Supreme Court on September 6 struck down the ban that has been at the centre of years of legal battles. "The law had become a weapon for harassment for the LGBT community," Chief Justice Dipak Misra said as he announced the landmark verdict. (Photo by Sajjad HUSSAIN / AFP) (Photo credit should read SAJJAD HUSSAIN/AFP/Getty Images)
The country’s LGBT+ community reacted to the ruling with joy and relief (SAJJAD HUSSAIN/AFP/Getty)

He told the Times of India: “Of course what happens in someone’s private life should not be of anyone’s concern, neither they should be punished.”

However, he followed this up by saying: “It is basically a genetic disorder, like someone having six fingers. Medical research must be done to rectify it.

“It is the American game,” he continued. Soon there will be gay bars here where homosexuals can go.

In this photograph taken on May 9, 2016, Subramanian Swamy, an Indian politician and a member of the Rajya Sabha, the upper house of the Indian parliament, gestures during an interview with AFP in New Delhi. He's been called India's Donald Trump: a media-savvy right-wing populist who is unafraid of upsetting everyone from the ruling elite to religious minorities as he rails against corruption. And after returning to parliament following a 15-year absence, Subramanian Swamy says he won't temper his shoot-from-the-hip style that has made him one of India's most popular if divisive politicians. / AFP / MONEY SHARMA / TO GO WITH AFP STORY BY BHUVVAN BHAGGA (Photo credit should read MONEY SHARMA/AFP/Getty Images)
Swamy has been called India’s Donald Trump, but was throwing rhetorical rocks long before him (MONEY SHARMA/AFP/Getty)

“HIV will spread. So, after looking at the consequences I hope the next government will move a seven-judge bench to set aside this five-judge bench order.”

Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), a right-wing Hindu group widely acknowledged as the ideological brain behind the ruling party, accepted the justices’ ruling but emphasised their view that homosexuality was unnatural.

“Like the Supreme Court’s verdict, we do not even consider this a crime,” said spokesperson Arun Kumar,” according to NDTV.

Indian members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community celebrate the Supreme Court decision to strike down a colonial-era ban on gay sex, in Mumbai on September 6, 2018. - India's Supreme Court on September 6 struck down the ban that has been at the centre of years of legal battles. "The law had become a weapon for harassment for the LGBT community," Chief Justice Dipak Misra said as he announced the landmark verdict. (Photo by INDRANIL MUKHERJEE / AFP) (Photo credit should read INDRANIL MUKHERJEE/AFP/Getty Images)
The Supreme Court’s decision was unanimous (INDRANIL MUKHERJEE/AFP/Getty)

“Gay marriage and relationships are not compatible with nature and are not natural, so we do not support this kind of relationship,” he added.

“Traditionally, India’s society also does not recognise such relations.

This may be true in terms of the law for the past century-and-a-half, but that all changed today.

Indian members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community hold placards outside the Supreme Court building as crowds gathered to celebrate the decision to strike down the colonial-era ban on gay sex in New Delhi on September 6, 2018. - India's Supreme Court on September 6 struck down the ban that has been at the centre of years of legal battles. "The law had become a weapon for harassment for the LGBT community," Chief Justice Dipak Misra said as he announced the landmark verdict. (Photo by Sajjad HUSSAIN / AFP) (Photo credit should read SAJJAD HUSSAIN/AFP/Getty Images)
“Bi bi haters” (SAJJAD HUSSAIN/AFP/Getty)

Darul Uloom Deoband, an influential Islamic school located in Swamy’s constituency with more than 7,000 students, also hit out against gay people following the decision.

The school’s Ulema Mufti Maulana Asad Quasmi said: “According to Shariat, homosexuality is haram and illegitimate,” according to Daily News and Analysis.

“This decision is against natural behaviour and anyone with their right mind will not accept this decision because Islam forbids homosexuality,” he added.

Related topics: Asia, Asia, Bharatiya Janata Party, BJP, Gay, gay sex, Homosexuality, India, India, Law, section 377, Subramanian Swamy, supreme court, World

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