NYT, Washington Post, BBC Hail Landmark SC Verdict on Section 377
The world media on Thursday, 6 September, hailed the overturning of a colonial-era law in India that criminalised gay sex, saying the landmark ruling was a boost for gay rights not only in the world's largest democracy but also across the world.
The Supreme Court decriminalised part of the Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code that criminalises consensual gay sex, saying it was irrational, indefensible and manifestly arbitrary.
The apex court unanimously held that the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) community possess the same constitutional rights as other citizens of the country.
The Washington Post
The Washington Post said India's top court's ruling was a landmark victory for gay rights in the world's largest democracy.
It noted that activists have struggled for more than a decade to invalidate the section of the Indian Penal Code that prohibited consensual "carnal intercourse against the order of nature."
The leading American newspaper commented that the ruling is also a boost for gay rights around the globe.
Economic and technological changes have spurred shifts in thinking too, it said while pointing out that conservative attitudes toward homosexuality still persist.
New York Times
The New York Times described the ruling as a "groundbreaking victory" for gay rights in India which has put to rest a legal battle that stretched for many years and burying one of the most glaring vestiges of India's colonial past.
It quoted Meenakshi Ganguly, the South Asia director for Human Rights Watch as saying that the ruling could set a precedent for nations with similar colonial-era laws to end their "discriminatory, regressive treatment" of gay and transgender citizens.
The decision to repeal the law is a major victory for India's LGBT activists and supporters after years of determined struggle, CNN commented.
The decision appears to mark the end of a fraught path to legalising homosexuality in modern India, The Guardian newspaper of the UK said, noting that early cases filed in 1994 and then 2001 bounced back and forth for years between higher courts reluctant to rule on the issue.
Though describing the Supreme Court's ruling as "historic", the BBC noted that "in a largely conservative India, where leaders of all religions have consistently opposed gay sex, it will still be a while before attitudes change and the community finds full acceptance."
The Independent newspaper said the ruling will have a profound impact both in India and across the world.
The Telegraph newspaper noted that sexual minorities in India have lived in fear, hiding as second class citizens and the Supreme Court's decision to decriminalise gay sex has sparked jubilation among LGBTQ and human rights groups across the country.
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