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Labour's Carter welcomes India's gay ruling

Thu 2 Jul 2009 In: New Zealand Daily News View at Wayback View at NDHA

Gay Labour MP Chris Carter has welcomed a landmark court decision which he says will make a huge difference to the lives of gay and lesbian people living in India. Marking a historic ruling: Labour MP Chris Carter A New Delhi High Court has ruled an article in the Indian Penal Code, which had been used to criminalise gay sex, is illegal under India's democratic constitution. "Article 377 was instituted by the British colonial regime in 1861 and prohibited 'carnal intercourse against the order of nature.' Its lasting effect was to make gay sex illegal in modern India," explained Carter. "Tonight Justices Shah and Muralidhar found the Victorian-era ban incompatible with modern India's secular, liberal ideals. They found that the article restricted Indians' rights to personal liberty and equality. "This is an important milestone on the road to tolerance, acceptance and respect for gay and lesbian Indians." The court's decision will also help in the fight against HIV/AIDS in the world's second most populous nation," believes Carter. "Organisations including the Naz Foundation India, which promotes safety in man to man sex, campaigned to overturn Article 377 because when there is openness and honesty it is easier to spread the condom message." Over two million people in India are living with HIV/AIDS. Carter was New Zealand's first openly gay MP and first openly gay Cabinet Minister. He founded the Rainbow branch of the Labour Party. "Tonight New Zealand's Labour Party joins with many Indians in celebrating the court's important decision, and India's incredible progress in the 21st century," he said.    

Credit: Daily News Staff

First published: Thursday, 2nd July 2009 - 11:50pm

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