World’s Largest Democracy
Reverses Decision Upholding LGBT Equality
Activists Vow to Fight On
On Wednesday, December 11th, the Supreme Court of India hearing the case of Suresh Kumar Kaushal v. Naz Foundation overturned the historic 2009 Delhi High Court ruling decriminalizing the life of LGBT citizens in India and upholding the full equality of all India’s peoples.
The former February 2009 decision had been hailed as an historic victory for all nations plagued by the remnants of colonial era imposed legislation. Chief Justice Shah’s premise of “constitutional morality” and the principled belief of Dr. Ambed Kar that majorities have no right to discriminate against minorities simply because the former outnumber the latter served to embolden a decade of activism in India that changed the face of LGBT life and inspired Queer people throughout the region.
Today’s decision will, in effect, reinstate section 377 of the Penal Code dating back to 1860 and India’s days under British Imperial rule, imposing a maximum of 10 years in prison if convicted of “sex against the order of nature.”
Though today’s decision represents a loss, it also serves as a reminder to all of us that laws come and go with political and social climates. We must not be defeated by the momentary defeats, nor be content with singular and isolated victories, but rather keep our eyes on the prize of universal and full human equality for all people everywhere.
We must hold to the conviction that human rights are not given or taken away by courts or legislators. Human rights belong to all the people of God by virtue of our common humanity. What we fight for is the recognition of the inherent truth that we are all the valued and beloved children of God, worthy of being treated equally and with dignity in all things.
Let us all commit to living our lives openly and with heads held high, and to praying for our brothers and sisters in India who must once again summon the resolve to battle both the external forces of hatred and violence that are fueled by decisions such as today’s, and the fear and temptation to hide that become the internal battles of those under siege. Let us together pray for the day when honesty is no longer criminalized, but rather recognized and lauded as the virtue of all people who know themselves to be fully human and absolutely created in the image of God.
This statement prepared in conjunction with the Global Justice Institute
and the Public Policy Team of Metropolitan Community Churches,
Rev. Pat Bumgardner, Executive Director, Mr. Kareem Murphy, Public Policy Team,
and Rev. Jim Merritt, Marriage and Relational Equality Liaison.