Participants in the Delhi Gay Pride Parade (Pic: Aditya Bondyopadhyay)
India’s ruling political party has officially given its backing to ending the colonial-era ban on gay sex, known as Section 377.
Live Mint reports that Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) National Spokesperson Shaina Nana Chudasama confirmed the position on the NDTV talk show Left, Right, Centre on Tuesday.
“We are for decriminalising homosexuality. That is the progressive way forward,” she stated, adding that while homosexuality may be seen as unnatural, it isn’t unacceptable.
On another show, India at 9 on CNN-IBN, Chudasama said: “There is bound to be some kind of resistance. But I don’t think we can have blinkers on to make ourselves believe that there is no LGBT community in this country.”
While she did not outline any plans for the government to repeal the law, Chudasama later tweeted that she will take up a suggestion by Gautam Bhan, an activist against Section 377, for the government to file an affidavit in the Supreme Court backing its annulment.
India has come under fire from the United Nations and human rights groups around the world for its gay sex ban, which carries penalties including life imprisonment.
The law was struck down in 2009 by the Delhi High Court, but reinstated just over a year ago, in an unexpected December 2013 ruling by the Supreme Court of India.
In April 2014, the court agreed to hear a petition to reconsider its ruling, but there has been no movement on the matter since.
It was recently revealed that almost 600 people have been arrested under the law over the past year.