India’s Top Court Ends Ban on Gay Sex
India's Supreme Court has struck down the country's long-standing ban on gay sex.
In a decision announced Thursday, all five judges who considered the case agreed that the ban should be removed.
In reading the court's decision, Chief Justice Dipak Misra said the law "had become a weapon for harassment" against members of the LGBT community.
The law barring sex between members of the same sex was first introduced by India's British colonial rulers in 1861. The criminal act was punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
The law was ended in 2009 by the Delhi High Court. But it was brought back in 2013 by the Supreme Court, making India one of the few countries that outlawed gay sex.
But the latest Supreme Court decision found that sexual orientation is "biological" and should not be used to discriminate. Chief Justice Misra said, "social morality cannot be used to violate the fundamental rights of even a single individual."
Another justice, D.Y. Chandrachud, said while the court cannot change history, it can "pave a way for a better future."
India's conservative government had opposed ending the law. But officials said they were leaving the decision to the "wisdom" of the Supreme Court. However, the government had warned that judges should not change laws relating to marriage rights.
Rights groups and members of India's LGBT community had campaigned for the Supreme Court to end the gay sex ban. Some celebrated in the streets near the court in New Delhi -- cheering, dancing and waving flags.
"We feel as equal citizens now," activist Shashi Bhushan told the Associated Press. "What happens in our bedroom is left to us."
"I am speechless!" college student Rama Vij told the French Press Agency. "It's taken a long time to come, but finally I can say I am free and I have equal rights as others."
One of the people responsible for bringing the case to the Supreme Court was Debottam Saha, who spoke to Reuters. "I'm so excited, I have no words," he said.
The head of the Muslim-led JIH (Jamaat-e-Islami Hind) political group condemned the court's decision. In a statement, Muhammad Salim Engineer said ending the ban on gay sex had put India on a path toward "moral degradation."
The statement said the JIH "believes in the fundamental rights of all citizens." However, legalizing gay sex "ignores religious teachings, our culture and the opinion of the overwhelming majority of the people," it added.
A leader of the conservative nationalist group RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) noted the organization does not believe that being gay should be a crime. However, the group said Indian society "traditionally does not recognize" gay relationships.
Debottam Saha said India's LGBT community will still likely face much discrimination. "We are no longer criminals, (but) it will take time to change things on the ground -- 20 to 30 years, maybe," he said.
Sukhdeep Singh is a gay rights activist and editor of the magazine Gaylaxy. He said the community still has a long way to go "to be legally with your partner."
But he added that the court decision has surely opened the door for more changes in the future. "This is the first battle that has been won and there are many more battles that we are going to fight," he said.
I'm Bryan Lynn.
1.struck down 打倒
He was struck down at the height of his career
2.equal rights 平等权利
We will be justly demanding equal rights at work.
3.colonial rulers 殖民统治者
Thee resistance movement started a campaign of terror against the colonial rulers.
4.brought back 恢复
She brought back the umbrella she borrowed.
5.Another justice, D.Y. Chandrachud, said while the court cannot change history, it can "pave a way for a better future."
pave a way for 为...做好准备；为...铺平道路
When one advance confidently in the right direction , even the fate will pave a way for him.
The discovery of ion implantation induced biological effects paved a new way for genetic modification.
6.He said the community still has a long way to go "to be legally with your partner."
has a long way to go ...有很长的路要走
China has come a long way, but it still has a long way to go.
The government has made some efforts to boost competitiveness, but still has a long way to go.
在宣读最高法院的裁决时，首席大法官迪帕克·米斯拉（Dipak Misra）表示，这项法律“已成为骚扰同性恋、双性恋及变性者群体（LGBT）的武器” 。
1861年，印度的英国殖民统治者首次提出禁止同性性行为的法律 。这种犯罪行为最高可判处10年监禁 。
2009年，德里高等法院废除了这项禁令 。但2013年，最高法院又恢复了该禁令，印度因此成为少数禁止同性性行为的国家之一 。但是，最高法院的最新裁决认为，性取向取决于“生理”，不应该受到歧视 。首席大法官米斯拉称，“不能利用社会道德侵犯哪怕是一个人的基本权利 。”
印度保守派政府曾反对废除该法律 。但官员们表示，他们把这个决定交给最高法院的“智者” 。然而，政府警告称，法官不应该修改有关婚姻权利的法律 。
人权组织和印度的LGBT群体成员曾经为了让最高法院废除同性性行为禁令而奔走 。一些人在新德里法院附近的街道上庆祝——他们欢呼、跳舞并挥舞旗帜 。
活动人士沙希·布尚告诉美联社，“如今，我们觉得自己是平等公民 。我们卧室里发生的事情是留给我们的 。”
大学生拉莎·维基（Rama Vij）告诉法国新闻社，“我的心情无以言表！我们等了这么久，不过我终于可以说获得自由了，我和其他人一样享有平等的权利 。”
负责向最高法院提交此案的人员之一德博塔姆· 萨哈（Debottam Saha）接受路透社采访时表示“我激动得一句话也说不出来了” 。
穆斯林领导的伊斯兰大会党的政治领袖谴责了法院的裁决 。穆罕默德·萨利姆在一份声明中表示，终止同性性行为禁令让印度走上了“道德沦丧”的歧途 。
这份声明指出，穆斯林大会党“相信所有公民都享有基本权利” 。然而，将同性性行为合法化是“罔顾宗教教义、民族文化和绝大多数人的意见”，该声明补充道 。
保守派民族主义组织（RSS）的一位领导人指出，该组织认为不应该将同性恋视为犯罪 。然而，该组织表示，印度社会“传统上不承认”同性性行为 。
萨哈表示，印度的LGBT群体仍然可能面临诸多歧视 。他指出，“我们不再是罪犯，（但）改变现状还需要时间，也许20甚至30年 。”
苏克迪普·辛格（Sukhdeep Singh）是同性恋权利活动人士兼《Gaylaxy》杂志编辑 。他表示，“想要与伴侣的关系合法化”，该团体还有很长的路要走 。
但他补充说，法院的裁决无疑为未来更多的变革打开了大门 。他说，“这是我们赢得的第一场战斗，我们还将进行更多的战斗 。”