Homosexuality legal says Supreme Court

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"Like the Supreme Court's verdict, we also do not consider this (homosexuality) as a crime", Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) "prachar pramukh" Arun Kumar said in a statement.

The Section 377 verdict is being cheered by millions across India now.

After the ruling, opponents of the law danced and waved flags outside the court.

Justice Chandrachud was addressing the 19 Annual Bodh Raj Sawhny Memorial Oration 2018 organised by the National Law University, Delhi (NLU-D).

Congress leader Shashi Tharoor, who's always been a supporter of gay rights, said his stand is now vindicated.

What Happened In The Court That Day?

Thursday's ruling re-examines a 2013 judgement that upheld a colonial-era law, known as section 377, under which gay sex is categorised as an "unnatural offence". The court said the law went against the rights enshrined in India's constitution. Social morality can not be used to violate the fundamental rights of even a single individual. He noted, "Human sexuality can not be confined to a binary".

Justice Chandrachud ruled that "Members of the LGBT community are entitled, as all other citizens, to the full range of constitutional rights including the liberties protected by the Constitution" and that the LGBT people are "entitled to the benefit of an equal citizenship, without discrimination, and to the equal protection of law".

Until today, nine still had the original British laws in place more or less unchanged, including India. "It is not only about decriminalising but recognising our fundamental rights".

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Coming down heavily on the issue of routine discrimination that members of the LGBTQ are subjected to, the diverse group of petitioners said that Section 377 legitimises the stigma associated with sexual orientation and its expression-something which is essential, fundamental, intrinsic and innate to an individual.

In four separate but concurring judgements, the top court set aside its 2013 verdict in the Suresh Kaushal case which had re-criminalised consensual unnatural sex.

Many cut cakes and unfurled rainbow flags, a symbol of gay pride, to welcome the verdict, which also said society can not dictate a sexual relationship between consenting adults.

They had tasted their first victory when the Delhi High Court in July 2009 decriminalised homosexuality among consenting adults.

"So proud today! Decriminalizing homosexuality and abolishing section 377 is a huge thumb up for humanity and equal rights!" he wrote on Twitter.

"The only thing that's going to change is we can be assured that we won't be counted as criminals for loving someone", Roop said.

Justice Chandrachud, while reading out the operative portion of his verdict, said the members of LGBTQ community were targeted and exploited due to Section 377 of IPC.

Meanwhile, the Congress has tweeted congratulatory messages, welcoming "the progressive and decisive verdict of the Supreme Court", even though Congress President Rahul Gandhi has himself not shared his thoughts yet.

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