This came just a day after the Supreme Court referred the matter pertaining to scrapping of Section 377 to a five-judge bench.

Indian Cardinal Oswald Gracias calls for decriminalization of homosexuality
news Homosexuality Sunday, February 07, 2016 - 15:12

India’s senior Catholic priest, Oswald Gracias, president of Conference of Catholic Bishops in India on Wednesday spoke in favour of LGBTQ community and said homosexuality should be decriminalized.

“I believe maybe people have this orientation that God has given them and for this reason they should not be ostracised from society,” he said adding, “The Church is concerned, and if you’re part of the Church you have to have compassion, sympathy and understanding toward them.” 

This came just a day after the Supreme Court referred the matter pertaining to scrapping of Section 377 to a five-judge bench. The apex court was hearing a curative petition filed by gay rights activists challenging the court’s earlier verdict validating Section 377 of IPC that considers homosexual sex criminal.

Section 377 was a law introduced by the erstwhile British government in 1862, which criminalizes homosexuality. It says, “Whoever voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal, shall be punished with imprisonment for life, or with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to 10 years, and shall also be liable to fine.”

In 2009, when the Delhi High Court exempted homosexual sex between consenting adults from the purview of Section 377 and said that the law was against the right of privacy, personal liberty and equality, some organisations like Apostolic Churches Alliance and the Utkal Christian Council had challenged the decision. 

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