In many countries, the death sentence derives from an interpretation of religious law.
The Supreme Court of India today stopped short of legalising marriage equality but stressed that an individual's right to enter into a union cannot be restricted on the basis of sexual orientation. The five-judge bench came up with four judgments, differing primarily on the question of adoption rights for queer couples. The judges asked the centre to proceed with the formation of a committee to address practical concerns of same-sex couples, such as getting ration cards, pensions, gratuities, and succession issues.
The issue has been dealt with very differently across the world, with at least 10 countries bordering on punishing homosexuality with the death penalty. In certain instances, this harsh sentencing is rooted in religious laws. There are also cases where laws permitting the death penalty exist but have not been enforced.
The following list outlines 10 countries where homosexuality could be subject to the death penalty:
The Washington Post reports, quoting the 1994 penal code, that married men can be sentenced to death by stoning for homosexual intercourse. Unmarried men face whipping or one year in prison. Women face up to seven years in prison.
In accordance with sharia law, homosexual intercourse between men can be punished by death, and men can be flogged for lesser acts such as kissing. Women may be flogged.
In the African nation of Mauritania, a 1984 law dictates that Muslim men found involved in homosexual activities may face execution by stoning, although no such executions have occurred to date. Women, on the other hand, can be sentenced to imprisonment for the same offense.
South Africa is the sole nation on the African continent to allow gay marriage, which it legalised in 2006. Gay sex is decriminalised in only a handful of countries: Angola, Lesotho, Mozambique, and the Seychelles.
Nigeria's federal penal code penalises homosexual acts with death or flogging. According to the Washington Post, federal law classifies homosexual behavior as a felony punishable by imprisonment, but several states have adopted sharia law and imposed a death penalty for men. A law signed in early January makes it illegal for gay people countrywide to hold a meeting or form clubs.
Sharia law in Qatar applies only to Muslims, who can be put to death for extramarital sex, regardless of sexual orientation.
Under the country's interpretation of sharia law, a married man engaging in same sex relationship or any non-Muslim who commits gay relationships with a Muslim can be stoned to death. All sex outside of marriage is illegal.
Also, in countries like Afghanistan, Somalia, and Sudan, the sharia law criminalises same-sex sexual acts with a maximum of the death penalty.
But in the United Arab Emirates experts disagree on whether federal law prescribes the death penalty for consensual homosexual sex or only for rape. In a recent Amnesty International report, the organization said it was not aware of any death sentences for homosexual acts. All sexual acts outside of marriage are banned, according to the media outlet.