Thursday, July 2, 2009

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery

Just after I wrote about the U.S. Supreme Court's Lawrence decision, an Indian court has issued a similar ruling, decriminalizing adult consensual homosexual acts.

This BBC report says the decision "is likely to be challenged". I confess total ignorance of the Indian judicial system, so I have no idea what that entails. I would welcome any comments to this post, that would shed light on that (subject to the comments guidelines I listed here).

The BBC's correspondent adds:

Gay rights activists all over the country welcomed the ruling and said it was "India's Stonewall".

That seems an inapt comparison, at least in one sense. In the U.S., many states continued to maintain sodomy laws on their books for decades after Stonewall (i.e., the 1969 riots that followed a police raid on the Stonewall gay bar in Greenwich Village, which are generally considered the beginning of the gay rights movement in this country).

But in another sense the comparison seems to fit. I have heard anecdotal evidence from gay Indian-American acquaintances about hostility toward LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered) people in India. Perhaps, until now at least, conditions there have been comparable to those in the U.S. in 1969.

If so, India seems to have leapfrogged the process we followed in America over the last four decades, achieving their equivalent of both Stonewall and Lawrence in one fell swoop.

No comments: