“The Supreme Court of India has restored the law banning homosexuality as a "crime against nature".
The nation's highest
court has overturned a decision taken by the High Court of Delhi in
2009, which had decriminalized homosexual acts.
The immediate reaction
from gay rights activists was to lay the blame at the door of Islamic,
Christian and Hindu religious associations accusing them of having
lobbied to reintroduce the norm,” AsiaNews writes.
Cardinal Oswald Gracias, Archbishop of Mumbai,
President of the Episcopal Conference of India and a member of the
eight-strong Council that advises the Pope on Curia reform, stressed
that " the Catholic Church has never been opposed to the
decriminalization of homosexuality, because we have never considered gay
people criminals,” AsiaNews reports.
“On 2 July 2009,” AsiaNews recalls, “the
Delhi High Court had repudiated sect. 377 (unnatural offenses) of the
Indian Penal Code - a law dating back to the British colonial period -
by establishing that sexual relations in private between two consenting
adults was not a criminal offense. Until then, two homosexuals could be
sentenced to 10 years in prison, or to life imprisonment in cases deemed
“The issue was reopened by BP Singhal, senior leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party
(BJP, Hindu ultra-nationalist party), which has filed an appeal at the
Supreme Court against the verdict, stating that "such acts are illegal,
immoral and contrary to the ethos of the culture Indian.”
"As Christians, we express our full
respect for homosexuals. The Catholic Church is opposed to the
legalization of gay marriage, but teaches that homosexuals have the same
dignity of every human being and condemns all forms of unjust
discrimination, harassment or abuse," Cardinal Gracias told AsiaNews.