India

Gay Sex is Now Legal in New Delhi

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Eight years after a petition to decriminalize gay sex was originally filed by sexual health advocates, India's Delhi High Court has acquiesced. Their ruling applies only to the city of New Delhi and it may be appealed to the Indian Supreme Court, but sexual liberty (and public health) advocates on the subcontinent hope that the decision will stick and influence other parts of the country to follow suit. In a nation where intimate homosexual relations can net you a 10-year prison sentence, this is no small victory.

Meanwhile, advocates and opponents of gay sex bans are busy playing hot-potato with the legacy of colonialism and western influence in India:

Some religious leaders quickly criticized the ruling. "This Western culture cannot be permitted in our country," said Maulana Khalid Rashid Farangi Mahali, a leading Muslim cleric in the northern city of Lucknow….

"This legal remnant of British colonialism has been used to deprive people of their basic rights for too long," Scott Long, director of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Rights Program at Human Rights Watch, said in a statement. "This long-awaited decision testifies to the reach of democracy and rights in India.

I'm not exactly sure what sort of permissive "Western culture" Mr. Maulana Khaldi Rashid Farangi Mahali is imagining, but gay sex only became legal in my home state of Virginia in 2003, and "carnally know[ing] any male or female person by the anus or by or with the mouth" remains a felony (by dint of a probably unconstitutional law) in the Old Dominion.

Reason's Managing Editor Jesse Walker covered the Lawrence case here, and contributor Cathy Young considered it here and here.

NEXT: "It's not often that Supreme Court opinions go into such detail to criticize the way a city is run."

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  1. Religious figure blames foreigners for morals of its members. This formula works everywhere.

  2. If you don’t like gay sex, then quit watching it folks!

  3. Okay, a Muslim cleric was quoted, I’d like to know what the majority thinks.

  4. It is now legal in all of Delhi btw, not just New Delhi.

  5. Good for the gay Delhians.

    My crim law prof in law school could hardly set out a hypo without involving sodomy in some way. He wasn’t gay; he just seemed to like to come up with outrageous hypos, and if it involved sodomy, all the better, I suppose.

    To this day, I can’t see or hear the word “sodomy” without hearing it the way he said it (I was going to say “the way it came out of his mouth,” but in this context, that just seemed too icky).

  6. When in doubt, blame the West.

    It’s like rule No. 1 from the Whiney Former Colony handbook.

  7. You can finally get a hard salami at the New Delhi. Or, use tube meat and “deli” joke of your choosing.

  8. “and “carnally know[ing] any male or female person by the anus or by or with the mouth” remains a felony (by dint of a probably unconstitutional law) in the Old Dominion.”

    So I suppose the only kind of gay (male) sex that has been legalized is … hand jobs?

  9. actually the delhi high court judgement is applicable to the entire country.. not just to delhi.

    and here is the entire judgement –

    http://www.scribd.com/doc/17027448/Delhi-Hight-Court-Naz

    1. Bollocks. The Delhi High Court is limited to Delhi. But lawyers at other places can cite it as precedent at the High Court level. Only the Supreme Court is binding on all Indian courts

  10. I like that both having rules against gay sex and not having rules against gay sex are evil legacies of the west.

  11. “and “carnally know[ing] any male or female person by the anus or by or with the mouth” remains a felony (by dint of a probably unconstitutional law) in the Old Dominion.”

    So I suppose the only kind of gay (male) sex that has been legalized is … hand jobs?

    Read it again, nothing has been legalized, it’s just rendered probably unconstitutional with the Lawrence V Texas (I think that was it) case. Also, note that it applies to hetero sex, getting a blowjob is a Class 6 Felony for both parties, regardless of respective DNA.

  12. Will there be a Bollywood song, “It’s Monsooning Men”?

    I don’t know if Muslim prudishness or Victorian prudishness (negatively) influenced India more.

  13. “carnally know[ing] any male or female person by the anus or by or with the mouth”

    Is this some kind of old timey southern legalese?

  14. I don’t know if Muslim prudishness or Victorian prudishness (negatively) influenced India more.

    One coin, two sides.

    I like that both having rules against gay sex and not having rules against gay sex are evil legacies of the west.

    The Obama version: ” …both having rules against _______ and not having rules against ______ are evil legacies of the Bush Administration.”

  15. Is this some kind of old timey southern legalese?

    “Know” in the “biblical sense”, you haven’t heard this before?

  16. It’s wonderful that gays are getting rights in India.
    Let me know when they’ve stopped the honor killings of women.

  17. “This Western culture cannot be permitted in our country,” said Maulana Khalid Rashid Farangi Mahali AKA the dude with the reallllllllllllllllly long name.

    Of course what he meant was we welcome all the Western Cultures manufacturing plants and call centers of western culture but the gays got to go.

  18. Then he said, “You let your hu-mon females wear clothing???”

  19. I await the first comment that no gay people can legally do what they have been doing all along that the goats and animals of New Dehli are no longer safe from sexual advances by humans. The tried and true “If we let gay people marry then people will be marring goats.” has to translate to the sex argument. Right?

  20. Homosexuality has never been unique to Western culture. Humans and other animals throughout the world have engaged in same-sex acts for many centuries. Some Western cultures have become more accepting of same-sex behavior over the past half-decade. However, societal oppression remains prevalent. In any country, the more severe the penalty, the more hidden is the behavior from the eyes of society. Behavior in which humans engage in secret does not equal non-existent behavior. Iran, for example, has a large population of men and women who engage in homosexual acts. Ahmadinejad’s denial of its existence has little to do with a reality with which many Iranians are familiar. Finally, the more taboo the behavior, the more likely is the spreading of STDs, including HIV.

  21. “I await the first comment that no gay people can legally do what they have been doing all along that the goats and animals of New Dehli are no longer safe from sexual advances by humans.”

    Here’s the problem. The people affected by this are both gays and foreigners. In America, “gay” pretty much means man on dog. But in a foreign country, everybody is already all man on dog, or whatever they have over there instead of dogs. Probably mongoose. They don’t even have to be gay or anything. So now that gay sex is legal, the question is whether there will be even more man on dog, or whether man on dog levels will remain constant. Where is Rick when we need him?

  22. Lamar, in the sunderband, it is mostly tiger on man. Indians, (dot, not feather,) tend to be submissive by nature. Something to do with goddesses with perfect breastesses and 8 arms.

    Other middle easterners prefer the kamel-sutra.

  23. > “Know” in the “biblical sense”, you haven’t heard this before?

    Yeah, surely you know!

  24. Replying to Average American:

    Honour killing almost always takes place in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Improve your geography.

  25. No, DesiDude, Average American’s geography is pretty much spot-on.

    Honor killings, which is the killing of a woman whose actions seem to undermine a family’s honor, are usually associated with Pakistan and perhaps Afghanistan. The problem goes much farther, however, and seems to be a serious issue in India as well.

    The Telegraph of India reports:

    Not just in Punjab and Haryana, but in western Uttar Pradesh as well, women are being put to death if they “violate” the honour of their family and community by marrying a person outside her own caste, community or religion. … According to Aidwa, 10 per cent of murders in Punjab and Haryana are honour killings. … Aidwa points out that in cases involving couples from upper castes, there is always an effort to save the young man. “The woman from the same caste, however, will be killed for destroying the honour of the family and community,” the report says. The girl’s death is never reported. “It is as if she never existed,” it adds.

    In India, for example, more than 5,000 brides die annually because their dowries are considered insufficient, according to the United Nations Children’s Fund.

    Now, that’s just quotes from the first two entries from googling “honor killings in india” and they appear to refer to killings among Hindus.

    In spite of the exodus of to Pakistan, India still has more Muslims than almost any country in the world (only Indonesia has more IIANM). Throw them into the mix and you got a country with a huge honor killing problem.

    Of course, only a tiny minority of Hindus or Muslims engage in honor killing, but in such a huge and diverse nation, even a minority can rack up big numbers.

    India is a huge and potentially rich country filled with mostly nice people. City by City and State by State it is pulling itself out of the morass created by double curse of British Imperialism and the socialism foisted on it by the English educated elites that lead it into independence.

  26. I’m indian and I believe this is a disgrace.

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