It was on a December afternoon in 2013. Hundreds of LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender) activists armed with black bands and rainbow flags marched to Jantar Mantar in New Delhi. The word was out: Being gay is now illegal again. The world’s largest democracy has no place for same sex love.
Earlier that day, the Supreme Court of India had overturned a lower court’s decision decriminalizing homosexuality in the country. Protests erupted across the country, and in several parts of the world. The review petition filed by the Government of India has also been rejected.
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The fate of Section 377, as this colonial British law is called, now rests on the hands of warring politicians locked in a pitch battle in one of the most contentious general elections. As they nudge each other to see who bells the cat first and supports an ordinance to change the archaic law, the giant pot of conservatism continues to boil making the decision a political gamble that very few seem to have the stomach for.
The question now is will crude vote bank politics and mindless pandering to conservatism kill India’s only chance to emerge as a free society where equal rights exist not just in the letters of its constitution but also in spirit?