This Article is From Dec 15, 2013

Gay rights protests across India against Supreme Court ruling on homosexuality

Gay rights protests across India against Supreme Court ruling on homosexuality

A gay rights activist holds a placard during a protest in Hyderabad against a Supreme Court verdict that upheld Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code that criminalizes homosexuality

New Delhi: Hundreds of gay rights activists gathered in the national capital and other cities across the country today to protest a decision by the Supreme Court to uphold a law that criminalizes gay sex.

The top court last week reversed a landmark 2009 verdict of the Delhi High Court that had decriminalized gay sex. The country's gay community is demanding that the government take immediate action to remove the colonial-era law banning same-sex relations.

About 800 protesters in New Delhi wore black arm bands and waved rainbow-coloured flags and banners. Some people wore masks and wigs to protect their identity. They said the Supreme Court's ruling had evoked anger and dismay across the country.

The activists said that they were in the process of taking legal steps to undo the court's decision and that today's protest was to make their voices heard.

"It's my fundamental right to decide who I should love," said Rohan Mehta, a New Delhi-based businessman who was among the demonstrators. "I will not let the court deprive me of my rights."

The court ruled on Wednesday that only Parliament could change the law that bans gay sex and makes it punishable by up to a decade in prison.

The ruling dealt a blow to gay activists who have fought for years for the chance to live openly.

Similar protests were organized today in several other cities, with groups of gay and human rights activists urging a rollback of the court's decision.