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By Gudrun Schultz

ÂNEW DELHI, December 8, 2005 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The government of India has declared the country is not ready for legalized homosexual activity, in response to a petition before the Supreme Court by the Naz Foundation, a homosexual activist organization in South Asia. The group wants to strike section 377, which identifies homosexual activity as an illegal punishable offence, from the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

The Government’s current position is based on public social opinion towards homosexual activity, which “does not favour” legalization. The affidavit issued by the Union Home Ministry states “the right of privacy cannot be extended to defeat public morality which must prevail over the exercise of any private right.” In other words, public moral standards take precedence over the rights of private individuals.

The document goes on to state “the question of homosexuality is not a mere question of personal preferences but may involve behavioural sanction of legislative authority of the state as it tends to affect the social environment…”

The petition before the Supreme Court is the latest effort in the Naz Foundation’s campaign to legalize homosexuality in India. One year ago, in November 2004, the Delhi High Court dismissed their attempt to have the law changed, on the grounds they had not shown evidence of its interference in their work. In that petition the Foundation claimed the law made it difficult to ensure widespread access to HIV/AIDS intervention and prevention, since practitioners of homosexual activity feared criminal charges.

Although there is presently strong resistance within Indian society towards the legalization of homosexual activity, the Government’s current position is inconclusive. The affidavit mentions that the Government is “examining” recommendations of the Law Commission of India, which favour deletion of the clause from the IPC. Relying on societal contexts to determine legal standing of homosexuality leaves wide open the possibility for a change should public opinion shift.

Read related article LifeSiteNews.com coverage:
https://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2004/sep/04090209.html

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