Updates in Global Homosexual Law

Updates in Global Homosexual Law

By Nicole Halseth, News Editor

Above and beyond the media storm surrounding Russia’s ‘gay propaganda ban,’ and its various international reactions, especially in regards to the upcoming Olympics in Sochi, developments in international homosexual rights continue.

According to an article on the BBC World News Website, “the Indian government has filed a petition in the Supreme Court asking it to review its decision to reinstate a 153-year-old law that criminalizes homosexuality.”

This review has been based on the premise that the reinstatement of this old, colonial law violates “the principle of equality.” It follows significant backlash, in the form of protest and criticism from numerous levels of Indian society, as the ruling to reinstate the law was considered a “huge blow to gay rights.”

On 11 December 2013, the Supreme Court of India reinstated a law to criminalize homosexuality, overturning a 2009 ruling to decriminalize gay sex by the Delhi High Court. Though the Delhi High Court said “gay sex between consenting adults should not be treated as a crime,” the Supreme Court said the ultimate responsibility for changing the law rests with the parliament.

The government said, in its petition filed with the Supreme Court, that “the position of the central government on this issue has been that the Delhi High Court verdict… is correct.” While the petition awaits a final decision in India, developments continue in different areas of the world. According to an article on the BBC World News website, “Uganda’s parliament has passed a bill to toughen the punishment for homosexual acts to include life imprisonment in some cases.”

This bill, originally put forth in 2009 as a private member’s bill, also makes it possible for individuals who do not report gay people to be potentially given a prison sentence, and bans any promotion of homosexuality.

Though the bill passed, the prime minister opposed the vote by stating that an insufficient number of MPs were present.

These activities have made it very difficult and dangerous for gay rights activists and individuals in Uganda. Opinions on the matter are divided both internationally and within the country.

These two instances, coupled with the developments on gay laws in Russia, represent only a fraction of the activity within the sphere of global homosexual rights. However, as international attention surrounding these issues increases, more developments are likely to continue. This will impact the overall state of homosexual, and human, rights around the world in the future.