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India Supreme Court hears arguments on legality of homosexuality

The Indian Supreme Court [official website] is set to hear additional arguments on Friday in a case challenging a 2009 Delhi High Court ruling decriminalizing homosexual intercourse. Anti-gay activists argue that homosexual sex is banned under Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code [text] which criminalizes unnatural "carnal intercourse." In response, the court questioned [The Indian Express report] whether the law was ever intended to criminalize homosexuality because it does not specifically mention homosexuality. The court also pointed out that while homosexuality may be abnormal, that does not necessarily mean that it is unnatural. The court went on to state that the law must be viewed in the context of changing societal values [New Delhi Television report].

Homosexuality is an international issue that many countries struggle to deal with. Earlier this week, Amnesty International [advocacy website] condemned [JURIST report] the government of Uganda for shutting down a LGBT workshop and attempting to arrest the leader. Earlier this month, Uganda reintroduced legislation [JURIST report] that would criminalize certain homosexual activities, including dictating a life sentence for individuals who enter into a same-sex marriage. In June, UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon [official profile] demanded [JURIST report] that African countries honor the Universal Declaration of Human Rights [text] by ending discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. According to the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association [advocacy website] State-Sponsored Homophobia report [text, PDF], 76 countries still criminalize same-sex relationships, and five enforce the death penalty against homosexuals.

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