Indian Election Changes The Battle Over Anti-LGBT Law

Published: May 28, 2014

In the eyes of many LGBT activists in India, the election victory of the Bharatiya Janata Party in this month’s elections was a setback for efforts to overturn the country’s anti-homosexuality law. At the least, their work becomes more complicated now.

The complications may affect upcoming proceedings before the Supreme Court, which has agreed to review its order of last December that reinstated anti-gay Section 377, which had been suspended four years earlier by the High Court.

The previous government, led by the Indian National Congress party, had sent mixed messages about the law. The Telegraph of Calcutta (Kolkata) stated:

“While the home ministry supported it, the health ministry contended that it was against criminalisation of gay sex. … “While several senior Congress leaders, including Rahul Gandhi and Kapil Sibal, criticised the Supreme Court order, with elections in mind, they didn’t actively seek to repeal the law in Parliament.”

Now the Bharatiya Janata Party takes over, with its own complex relationship to the law. New Prime Minister Narendra Modi “has been resolutely silent on the issue of homosexuality and LGBT rights,” BuzzFeed reports.

One Indian columnist added in First Post, “I don’t think any of our LGBT citizens have any cause of concern. It’s not that Modi doesn’t support gay rights. He has not officially said anything about the subject. Only Rajnath Singh made a statement supporting section 377. And who cares about that guy. He has been given an insignificant ministry and is on his way to even losing his position as the BJP president.”

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