The Supreme Court Thursday, in a landmark ruling, overturned its previous judgment on Section 377 of the IPC and legalised consensual gay sex between adults. Reading down the 158-year-old law, a five-judge Constitutional bench found sexual orientation a natural phenomenon, and that Section 377 infringed on the fundamental right to non-discrimination, to live a life of dignity, and privacy guaranteed in the Constitution. India now joins 124 other countries in legalising same-sex relations.
As the country erupted in celebration following the apex court’s verdict, here’s how the international media reported the judgment.
The front page of Pakistan’s Dawn this morning had a brief on the SC’s verdict on Section 377, linked to a complete report inside, which read, “A constitutional bench of India’s Supreme Court on Thursday legalised same-sex relations between consenting adults, but the move poses a challenge in a country where social mores prohibit heterosexual ties across hidebound castes or between religious communities.
Also read | Section 377 verdict: The world India has left
The Washington Post, US
“The judgment reflects rapid social change in India, where only five years ago the top court upheld the same law,” The Washington Post wrote. “Economic and technological changes have spurred shifts in thinking, too. Cheap smartphones and mobile data opened young Indians to global trends and dating apps. Film, theater and pop culture show openly gay characters and in some cases challenge gay stereotypes.”
It added, “Thursday’s ruling is a boost for gay rights around the globe. India was the most populous country in the world that still had a law on the books criminalizing gay sex.”
New York Times, US
An article in New York Times said: “The Indian justices seemed well aware of the place they were taking in history. Nation after nation has been extending full rights to gay people under the law, and now India, as the world’s second-most populous country, stands, at least legally, among the more progressive.
“Interestingly, India’s leading politicians, who usually never resist an opportunity to weigh in on a hot issue, have mostly stayed out of the debate,” it added.
This article also appeared in Qatar’s Gulf Times and Australia’s Sunday Morning Herald.
A BBC report stated, “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.
“But laws almost always play an important role in changing mindsets, and by recognising the community’s right to love, the Supreme Court has restored the dignity denied to them for a very long time,” it added.
Also read | Section 377 verdict: What the Judges ruled
Global Times, China
China’s Xinhua carried a report on the Supreme Court’s verdict on Section 377, which was also published in Global Times. The report read, “India’s Supreme Court legalized gay sex in a historic judgment Thursday apparently scrapping the 158-year-old colonial-era law that criminalized homosexuality.”