December 11, 2013
Wednesday’s Indian Supreme Court decision reversing a lower court and recriminalizing same-sex sexual intimacy marks a dreadful new judicial low for international LGBT human rights Even as we in the U.S. enjoy ever increasing visibility and protections for our community, life for many of our brothers and sisters in other countries is going from bad to intolerable.
It is repellent that extremist religious opposition worldwide is such a corrosive impediment to basic human rights. The groundbreaking Delhi high court decision would have stood had religious opponents not attempted, now successfully, to roll it back. Even the Indian government refused to defend the law in court. We are unfortunately in a global culture war with many more challenges ahead.
In many African nations, Jamaica, Russia, much of Southeast Asia, and the Middle East, being openly LGBT is often lethal. Government crackdowns, most recently in Russia, are surging and show no signs of diminishing. Hate violence is not only endemic, but encouraged by government officials. Now, India joins the list of nations on the wrong side not only of history, but decency.
In 2003, the U.S. Supreme Court stuck down the remaining laws in 12 states which made same-sex intimacy a crime. Now, 10 years later, the highest Court in India turns a blind eye to justice, offends any commonsense understanding of privacy, and assures that LGBT Indians will live in fear and under the stigma of this draconian and dehumanizing law.
We are living in a Dickensian world, the best of times for many LGBT people in great swathes of this nation and some other countries, and the worst of times on far too much of the planet. It is impossible to enjoy our liberty and freedom knowing that so many others suffer. We always knew our work was not done, and today we have another grim reminder.