Last edited: September 10, 2003

Life Sentences Necessary “To Control Homosexuality” India Says Newscenter, September 9, 2003

New Delhi—The government of India says the public would never accept the decriminalization of homosexuality. In a brief presented to the country’s Supreme Court, the government says that “Indian society is intolerant to the practice of homosexuality/lesbianism.”

The high court is hearing an appeal by AIDS and gay groups that the country’s sodomy law is unconstitutional. The so-called laws against nature allow for people convicted of homosexuality to be imprisoned up to life, although the maximum sentence is seldom handed out.

The government told the court Monday that society’s disapproval of homosexuality was “strong enough to justify it being treated as a criminal offence even where the adults indulge in it in private.”

Abolishing the law, the government said “can well open the flood gates of delinquent behavior and be construed as providing unbridled license for the same”.

The challenge to the law was brought by New Delhi-based Naz Foundation, which works for the welfare of HIV positive and AIDS patients.

Lawyers for the group argue that consenting homosexual acts be legalized because fear of arrest had turned gay sex underground and that it was impossible to provide sex-sex education.

India is facing an AIDS crisis and the UN has warned that unless the government moves quickly the country could soon have the worlds highest incidence of HIV/AIDS.

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