Statement by Equal Rights Coalition regarding the Supreme Court of India decision on consensual same-sex relations between adults in India

13 November 2018

The undersigned members of the Equal Rights Coalition (ERC) welcome the unanimous ruling of the Supreme Court of India on 6 September 2018

decriminalizing consensual same-sex relations between adults in India. This decision is an historic step for the advancement of the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) persons in India. In declaring the ban on same-sex conduct under Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code to be unconstitutional, the Indian Supreme Court has taken a positive step in recognizing the rights of LGBT persons under the Indian Constitution, including the right to equality before the law. We welcome this important contribution of the Court towards the objective of ensuring that LGBT persons in India, a country with one of the world’s largest national populations, are treated as full and equal members of society. We also recognize and applaud the work of LGBT civil society advocates in India, whose efforts have been instrumental in bringing about this ruling after a long and difficult struggle.

ERC members remain concerned that more than 70 countries maintain discriminatory laws that criminalize consensual same-sex relations between adults. Decriminalization is an essential step to uphold dignity for all and reduce violence and discrimination targeting lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) persons. We hope that the example set by the Indian Supreme Court will be followed in other countries, and we encourage governments that have not yet pursued decriminalization of same-sex conduct to undertake legal reforms. As we affirmed at the 2018 ERC Global Conference on LGBTI Human Rights and Inclusive Development, ERC members are committed to sharing best practices among governments and civil society organizations to promote the universal decriminalization of LGBTI status or conduct.


Albania, Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Cape Verde, Chile, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Israel, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, the Netherlands, New-Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United States of America, Uruguay

Category Statement, India, English, French, Spanish, 2018

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