The Delhi High Court issued a landmark ruling Thursday decriminalizing homosexuality, a move that could bring more freedom to millions of people in this deeply conservative nation.
The ruling said that treating relations between consenting adult homosexuals as a crime is a violation of basic human rights safeguarded under the Indian Constitution.
The court decision amending an 1860s-era British Empire statute ostensibly applies only to Delhi. But activists said that given the capital territory’s leadership position, they expect the ruling to influence courts across the country.
“I think this is quite fantastic,” said Anjali Gopalan, director of the Naz Foundation, an HIV/AIDS awareness group, one of the parties that submitted the lawsuit eight years ago. “It’s a big step forward, although there are many more steps ahead.”
Turns out it’s only six years ago that the United States did the same thing.