Decriminalization of Homosexuality: Should IPC 377 be dissolved or not

Discussion in 'Politics & Society' started by NikSha, Jun 28, 2009.

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Do you Support Homosexuality

  1. Yes Support Homosexuality and Laws that give them their rights

    21 vote(s)
    39.6%
  2. No Dont support Homosexuality but have no problems with laws that give them their rights

    17 vote(s)
    32.1%
  3. No Do not approve Homosexuality or any laws that legalizes it

    15 vote(s)
    28.3%
  1. NikSha

    NikSha Regular Member

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    Hindustan Times

    NEW DELHI: Ahead of annual marches by gays and lesbians in many Indian cities on Sunday, there is good news for them — having sex may no longer be a crime.

    Signalling a major shift in its once-unyielding stand, the government has for the first time indicated it is willing to review a controversial 150- year-old law that makes homosexuality a criminal offence.

    A meeting between the Home, Health and Law ministers is likely to be convened soon to discuss the issue of either completely repealing or amending section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), which provides for 10 years imprisonment for “unnatural sex”. That includes homosexuality.

    “The issue was being discussed in Ministry of Home Affairs and Health Ministry and it will come before the Law Ministry also,” said union Law Minister M. Veerappa Moily. “The Home minister will convene a meeting of the three ministers soon.”

    Earlier this month, Moily said “some sections of the IPC are outdated and may require a fresh look.”

    Home Minister P. Chidambaram will chair the meeting, which is likely to evolve a fresh stand acceptable to all three ministries.

    The flexibility in the government stand follows the change of guard in all the three key ministries.

    While Chidambaram and Moily are understood to be in favour of a fresh look on the issue, Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad hasn’t yet revealed what he thinks.

    Previous Home and Law ministers Shivraj Patil and H. R. Bhardwaj strongly opposed any change in the controversial IPC section.

    “The purpose of section 377 IPC was to provide a healthy environment in the society by criminalising unnatural sexual activities against the order of nature. The Health ministry is welcome to take all steps for ensuring better health of the people, but no tampering with well laid down legal procedure can be allowed without a firm reasoning,” Bhardwaj had told HT in October last year.

    This was why the UPA government in its first term refused a proposal from former Health Minister Dr Anbumani Ramadoss to make gay sex legal.

    The Health ministry had argued that the provisions of the existing law “push HIV people underground, which makes such risky sexual practices go unnoticed”.

    The Home and Health ministries had taken opposite stands last year, in their replies to the Delhi high court, on a petition filed by an NGO called the Naaz Foundation.

    The Home ministry had strongly opposed any change in the IPC, while the Health ministry was in favour of scrapping the controversial section.

    The scales were finally tilted in favour of the Home ministry when the law ministry supported its stand and made it clear that the government was not in favour of any change in the existing law.

    The arguments in the Delhi high court are complete and the verdict is expected soon.


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    Govt mulls repeal of law against homosexuality (lol @ ridiculous comments there)

    NEW DELHI: Home ministry, which had been so far against change in section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) which bans homosexuality, now appears to be in favour of repealing of the law.

    As against his predecessor Shivraj Patil's view, home minister P Chidambaram is learnt to have expressed his views on repealing of section 377.

    Officials believe since law minister too has now a lenient view, the government stand before high court will now change - provided the health ministry too expresses the need to change the law or repeal it altogether in favour of homosexual relationship.

    Home minister Chidambaram, who is in favour of repealing of section 377, has called a meeting of health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, law minister V Moily and home ministers of all states for consultation.

    With Chidambaram and Moily on board, it seems the gay right activists may now break their biggest hurdle.

    Home ministry is now waiting for formal nod from health and law minister.

    Earlier, it was the home ministry which opposed it in the high court, arguing that homosexuality is not accepted by Indian society and repealing of the law would open the floodgates of delinquent behaviour.

    Home ministry had however argued that homosexuals are vulnerable to HIV-AIDS, hence the discrimination against them should end.

    Home ministry is now waiting whether the new health minister G N Azad too favours his ministry's earlier stand. With Chidambaram and Moily being on board, the ball is now in Azad's court.

    Final decision will be taken after taking consent of all in the proposed meeting.
     
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  3. Flint

    Flint Senior Member Senior Member

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    Good. We need to legalize it and bring it into the mainstream. It will go a long way in stemming the spread of HIV and other STDs.
     
  4. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

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    Giving Gays their rights is alrite, but how will it help in preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS?
     
  5. johnee

    johnee Elite Member Elite Member

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    Making Homosexuality legal will only make our society a mess. Homosexuals live their lives acccording to their wish anyway, but if they become too brazen about it(due to legalisation), then its not so good for our society IMHO. And legalising it is not going to stop spread of STD or HIV.

    I find the idea, that legalising something would make curbing STDs and HIV almost comical. Like the idea to legalise Prostitution to curb human trafficking and controlling HIV. I find such ideas bereft of common sense.
    I am against legalising Homosexuality or prostitution.
     
  6. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

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    Under Islamic laws, it's banned. Precisely for all such reasons.
    However, everyone has a choice and it has to be respected.
    Gays have existed for eons. It's just that their is more awareness now.
     
  7. johnee

    johnee Elite Member Elite Member

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    Gays have existed for eons. The awareness existed for eons as well. But they were also aware of what would happen to society if it was formally legalised. So, they just let it be. Gays did live their lives the way they wished in the past as well. Some ppl suffered, just as they do now, as some will do in future.
    Its best to let 'being Gay' be a taboo, for the good of society at large.
     
  8. Calanen

    Calanen Regular Member

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    You probably know however, that there is still a big gay underground in Islamic countries, and indeed in Afghanistan. Isn't it the saying that the crow flies with one wing over Kandahar, while using the other to cover its butt? One of the standing orders of the Taliban is not to have any unshaven youths sleep in the same tents as Taliban operatives! Temptation must be too much...

    The fact that women are so inaccessible in Islamic countries may also mean that more men turn to the alternative, like when men are placed in prison. Their new motto becomes "Any hole is a goal.' :113: In Western countries, you just need to go to the pub. Do not have to compete with rich men who snap up 4 women as their wives.
     
  9. Known_Unknown

    Known_Unknown Devil's Advocate Stars and Ambassadors

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    johnee, I'm appalled by your comments. You're saying that one group of people must be permanently stigmatized by society and persecuted by the government because of the condition they were born into. Do you realize how foolish and backward that sounds? For your kind information, gay marriage has been legalised in several western countries, and their society hasn't gone to hell yet, as you seem to imply.

    Besides, this thread is not even about legalising gay marriage. It is about making gay sex legal. Besides the fact that the origin itself of laws dealing with human relationships, be they regarding sexuality or marriage, have been imposed on Indians by the British due to their own religious beliefs of Abrahamic morality, there is a fundamental issue here about whether the government should be able to legislate on private lives of individuals.

    In the first case, there is no reason why laws made to suit British sensibilities should be prevalent in India more than 6 decades after independence, especially laws governing private sexual behaviour between consenting adults in their own bedrooms. I see these laws as a vestige of the colonial times, and the British have managed to so thoroughly westernise Indians that we have adapted to following their actions like monkeys without caring for any rhyme or reason and putting our own spin on the matter to defend the status quo.

    The British laws are based on their religious beliefs concerning homosexuals. In the Bible, it is mentioned that God violently disapproves of gay acts by destroying and killing every single inhabitant of the gay cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. Hence, the British made it a criminal offence for gays to have sex against "natural order" as established by their God.

    But what is the "natural order" anyway? Humans are not he only species to have gay populations. Gay individuals occur in nature in other great apes too. So isn't it "natural" for some part of the population to be homosexual? And even if it wasn't, what gives the government the right to legislate private sexual actions?

    Would you also condone a law making oral sex illegal? That is definitely against the "natural order", as no other ape species have been observed to be so inventive in their sexual rituals. Maybe the government should also make other laws regarding how we talk, or speak or dress or act........I don't know about you, but IMO such a country would soon turn into a police state, and one that I certainly would not like to live in.

    And lastly, one point I'd like to go back to-people always make some fantastic arguments about how legalising gay marriage (the Indian debate has not even reached that far) would somehow corrupt society. These people always make dire doomsday predictions lifted straight out or at least inspired from bible toting Christians without thinking independently on their own. I think that allowing gays to marry is one of the benchmarks on how free a society is. Some Scandinavian countries, Canada, and a few others have already legalized gay marriage.

    An open society is one that affords maximum freedom to the largest number of its citizens to live their own lives as they see fit-shutting out and stigmatizing a certain group of people in the hypothetical interest of a larger majority is the worst thing anyone could do to promote an illusory mirage of social harmony.
     
  10. Known_Unknown

    Known_Unknown Devil's Advocate Stars and Ambassadors

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    I did not touch on the issue of AIDS. One of the ways that it spreads is through gay sex. If gays are going to be thrown into prison for admitting to having sex, how are health workers supposed to treat those infected with HIV or AIDS? Any HIV+ gay male will automatically be thrown in jail because they most likely got the virus through sexual acts and hence have broken a criminal law.
     
  11. johnee

    johnee Elite Member Elite Member

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    Unknown,
    I disagree with your assertion that allowing Gay marriage(or some such act) is a benchmark of freedom. As I said before, in India, for centuries gays are present and will continue to be so. They were neither given formal recognition nor were they made illegal. They were a social taboo(much before the advent of British) and continue to be so. I see no reason to change the status quo and mess the society(Yes, I believe brazen and open Gay relationships will mess up society).

    Right now, gay sex is illegal, but is anyone arrested if one indulges in it? AFAIK, the answer is a NO. So, one is still free to try whatever innovations they might wish to(in their bedroom). But I dont think society should confer a validity stamp on them by making it legal.
    Larger good of society is more important than mere individual rights( and I would have said the same if I were a Gay).
     
  12. Known_Unknown

    Known_Unknown Devil's Advocate Stars and Ambassadors

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    Please qualify your statements with facts. Which legal authority, religious scripture or cultural tradition are you referring to when you make this assumption? Please realise that homosexuals were not looked at with the same sort of hate and disdain in India before the arrival of the British. You'd be hard pressed to find any laws regulating homosexual behaviour in particular except some religious texts that seeked to govern all sexual behaviour. I have never heard of any gays being punished in India before the arrival of westerners, but I have read about plenty of such cases in Europe.

    Secondly, I reiterate my previous question, please provide some sort of basis for your "belief" that legalization of gay sex will "mess up" society. What kind of mess do you envision? Has this "mess" happened in societies that have already legalized such actions? If not, what makes you believe that it will happen in India beyond a simple fear of the unknown?

    How would you know? Are you intimately familiar with the gay scene in India? Do you have any openly gay friends? Have you heard of any openly confessing to having gay sex and not get arrested?


    First, the argument is not whether or not society should approve of certain sexual acts in people's bedrooms. If you manage to work up the guts to ask around, you'll find that most would not even approve of fellatio or some more exotic sexual acts performed between heterosexual adults. Would you then suggest making these acts illegal?

    Secondly, no one is asking for a "validity stamp" as you put it. All they're asking is to not be put in jail for actions they do in their own bedroom. Is that too much to ask?
     
  13. johnee

    johnee Elite Member Elite Member

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    This is exactly what I am saying. No one would do anything, unless they go about tom-toming to the world. That means Gays(and others) can do whatever they want within the perimeter of their house. But if you advertise it, then you will have a reaction(from society and law). This status quo doesnt need any change.

    There is no need for anyone to be 'openly' Gay, IMHO.

    BTW, a similar argument can be made in favour of legalising Pedophilia or sex with animals(or similar weird sexual habits or traits).

    PS: I disagree with rest of your post, but I think that is irrelevant to present discussion.
     
  14. Known_Unknown

    Known_Unknown Devil's Advocate Stars and Ambassadors

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    Ok, so you want them to be permanently stigmatized and brushed under the carpet as an eternal underclass, invisible to the rest of society, unable to marry their lovers, and condemned to living a life of loneliness all so that you can feel that your version of a perfect society is being fulfilled. Well, you're welcome to your horrific utopia, and I'm glad I don't share it.

    What happens when a gay man suspects he has AIDS? Does he confess, thus allowing his sexual partner to also be tested and treated while risking being jailed himself, or does he suffer silently, and let the AIDs epidemic spread?
     
  15. Calanen

    Calanen Regular Member

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    People can get AIDS from other than gay sex, whenever blood or semen is transferred. So drug addicts, and even heterosexual people can give AIDS to each other. It's not just a gay man's disease.

    People are either gay or they're not. If someone said to you, you are only *pretending* to be heterosexual, but are really hiding your true gay feelings, would you agree? No one would choose to be gay, to be one of the most hated and vilified groups on the planet, threatened with death and an outcast. No, people are just born gay.
     
  16. Known_Unknown

    Known_Unknown Devil's Advocate Stars and Ambassadors

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    Calanen,

    I said:

    I am well aware of other transmissible methods. And you're actually repeating my argument that homosexuality is hard wired into our genes. Nothing a gay person can do to change it.
     
  17. Flint

    Flint Senior Member Senior Member

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    These people get driven underground. They are denied education, respect, and decent living conditions. I guess you can understand the rest.
     
  18. johnee

    johnee Elite Member Elite Member

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    Common, no one gets arrested for confessing to doctor(not in India).

    This argument is just to make it seem as if keeping Gay sex illegal is biggest cause of spread of AIDS and that is precursor to try and make Gay marriages legal.


    Anyway, I have made my stand clear. It is obvious that you have strong feelings regarding this issue(and our ideas dont converge). So, lets agree to disagree.
     
  19. NikSha

    NikSha Regular Member

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    I don't know why some people have trouble letting others live their lives the way they want. If you hate religious nutcases who go around trying to tell you what to do, you aren't any better telling gays/lesbians to stop being what they are.

    Anyways, good for them. I hope the British era laws are scrapped faster. Sounds more like Christian views are still written in our law books and we are following their mindset.. having brainwashed over ages. India is the country of Kamasutra ffs..
     
  20. Calanen

    Calanen Regular Member

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    The construct of the argument was not clear to me, so I wasn't sure what position you were advocating for, but it became clearer in your later statements over the page.

    I believe that being gay is hard wired into the genes, but what the mystery is, why is it so prevalent if evolution would obviously favour heterosexual sex? I remember reading a study which said that gay men often have sisters who have a lot of children, and the two are somehow related.

    I am firmly of the view that anyone who has HIV whether straight or gay should not have sex anymore with anyone, and that people who knowingly infect others should be executed.

    The hangup with gays and religion is a bit medieval. I don't care what people do, as long as I don't have to pay for it.
     
  21. Daredevil

    Daredevil On Vacation! Administrator

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    India's gay prince appears on Oprah show

    This is what happens, when you don;t let gay people live their own way. Being gay is in their genes, one cannot do anything about it but let them be as they want. See the case of this gay prince, he married a women under pressure and didn't perform his husbandly duties and made her life miserable for at least sometime. It might happen to many others out there under the social pressure. I think govt. is doing the right thing in scrapping law against gay sex.

     

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