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Supreme Court to review Section 377

Justices won't step into Mississippi gay rights legal fight

The Supreme Court of India announced Monday that it would reconsider its 2013 ruling upholding Section 377, a colonial-era law criminalizing same-sex sexual relations.

Section 377 has undergone many twists and turns ever since the Delhi High Court decriminalised it in 2009.

"This latest punt on LGBTQ rights by the nation's highest court promotes state-stationed discrimination by upholding a law that allows hotels, ER doctors, business owners, and even pediatricians to legally deny services to hardworking LGBTQ families in MS", said Sarah Kate Ellis, President and CEO of GLAAD.

LGBT rights groups called the law the "worst in the nation" and the Supreme Court's decision a "missed opportunity".

The plea seeking decriminalisation of homosexuality or gay sex between two consenting adults was referred to a larger bench by the apex court on Monday. Later, in 2012, the Supreme Court overturned the decision.

The lesbian gay bisexual transgender (LGBT) community has been demanding scrapping of Section 377 of the IPC, under which consensual sexual acts between members of the same sex are an offence entailing punishment up to life term. Dating back to the 1800s, Section 377 criminalises anal and oral sex, referring to it as "unnatural sex", and states that it is "against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal". The apex court had concluded that privacy included at its core the preservation of personal intimacies and that sexual orientation was an essential attribute of privacy.

". We are pleased that the Supreme Court declined to take up these baseless challenges, which misrepresented the law's sole objective of ensuring that Mississippians don't live in fear of losing their careers or their businesses simply for affirming marriage as a husband-wife union", stated Theriot. "Choice can't be allowed to cross boundaries of law, but confines of law can't trample or curtail the inherent right embedded in an individual under Article 21 of the Constitution", the bench observed.

The activist Gautam Bhan said SC's reading of the right to privacy as an aspect of respect and equality, especially in the case of LGBTQ rights, was welcome.

The U.S. Supreme Court has refused an important hearing concerning fighting anti-LGBTQ law.

"This law that targeted LGBT people [and] privileged specific religious beliefs over others - that was a harm in and of itself", said Littrell. It also includes a maximum punishment of life imprisonment.