Church to oppose legalization of gay sex in India

Published 29 June 2009  |  
The Central Government on Sunday announced plans to repeal a 150-year-old law that criminalizes homosexuality in India.

The news has come as a major victory for Gay Right activists even as the government announced its intent to decide after consulting the Church and representatives of other religious groups.

The announcement was made by Union Law Minister Veerappa Moily who would be meeting Home Minister P. Chidambaram and Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad to discuss on the controversial section 377 of the Indian Penal Code.

The Section 377, which was formulated by the British in the 17th century, terms same sex relationships as a criminal act and makes it punishable with an imprisonment of 10 years.

"The Cabinet has mandated to have a re-look at the provision. But we are not going to rush to any conclusion. We will certainly take into account concerns of all sections, including religious groups like Christian church," Moily said at a press conference in Thiruvanthapuram.

So far the Church has remained mum and is yet to officially voice its discontent against the amending of Section 377.

"This is a very sensitive issue and the Church is yet to come out with its statements," Bishop Sahu of the National Council of Churches in India (NCCI) told Christian Today.

The general secretary of the ecumenical organization of the protestant and Orthodox Churches in India, however, opined that "church can't remain silent and it should unitedly speak on this issue."

He very candidly pointed that homosexuality "is against our religion and is forbidden in the Bible."

Joseph Dias, general secretary of the Catholic Secular Forum, concurs. "The Church's stand on the issue has always been clear. For us it is an unnatural act, against the divine law. We will definitely oppose it," he said.

Meanwhile, hundreds of gay rights supporters walked through three Indian cities on Sunday, to celebrate gay pride and call for the decriminalization of homosexuality, which is still a taboo subject in world's largest democracy.

Thousands marched on the streets in Bangalore, Chennai and Delhi where gays, lesbians, transgender and bisexuals were seen holding play cards demanding "equal rights" and "gay-friendly laws".

Gay Right activists claim that the Section 377 law violates the Indian Constitution, which guarantees all citizens the right to equality and personal liberty.

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