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Increasing support for gay rights from BJP leaders. A rainbow in sight?

Namit Hans | Updated on: 14 February 2017, 12:00 IST

The last Sunday of November saw the colors of rainbow descend upon the streets of Delhi as hundreds of LGBT rights supporters marched towards Jantar Mantar from Barakhamba road for the 8th Delhi queer pride parade.

On the same day, Union Minister for Finance Arun Jaitley spoke in support of the gay right activists and said that the 'Supreme Court should not have reversed the Delhi High Court order which de-criminalised consensual sex between gay adults'.

His predecessor and former Finance Minister P Chidambaram also batted for LGBT rights. Now Prakash Javadekar, the Union Minister for Environment in BJP government, has expressed his support for Jaitley's comments on LGBT rights.

On 6 December, moments before leaving for Paris to attend the Climate Change conference, Javadekar affirmed that homosexuality should not be criminalised and that Supreme Court should reconsider its verdict. "We should not marginalise the already marginal," he told The Hindu.

Javadekar live patrika

Photo: Patrika

These fresh and reformed voices from the political leaders and parties in India raises the hopes for a better future for the community.

Support swells for LGBT rights

Aam Aadmi Party

After the 2013 Supreme Court verdict, the AAP put this statement on their official website;

"The Aam Aadmi party is disappointed with the judgment of the Supreme Court upholding the Section 377 of the IPC and reversing the landmark judgment of the Delhi High Court on the subject. The Supreme Court judgment thus criminalizes the personal behavior of consenting adults. All those who are born with or choose a different sexual orientation would thus be placed at the mercy of the police. This not only violates the human rights of such individuals, but goes against the liberal values of our Constitution, and the spirit of our times. Aam Aadami Party hopes and expects that the Supreme Court will review this judgment and that the Parliament will also step in to repeal this archaic law."


In December 2013, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi came out in support of LGBT rights and said that "every individual had the right to choose".

"I think these matters should be left to the individuals. These are personal choices. This country is known for its freedom, freedom of expression. So let that be. I hope that Parliament will address the issue and uphold the constitutional guarantee of life and liberty to all citizens of India, including those directly affected by the judgement," he said.

The LGBT rights movement in India has already found its way into the election manifesto of the Congress for the 2014 general elections.

Rahul Gandhi_Sonu Mehta/Hindustan Times/Getty Images

Photo: Sonu Mehta/Getty Images

CPI(M) and JD(U)

Communist Party of India (Marxist) Politburo member Brinda Karat had criticised the SC order. She stated that consensual sexual relations could not be called criminal.

Janata Dal United leader Shivanand Tiwari had criticised the SC judgement and had termed it 'regressive'.

"I don't support the Supreme Court verdict. It is not right. I think the Delhi High Court order was practical and constitutional... Homosexuality happens in our society. The people who get into such relationships believe it is natural for them. So why should the Supreme Court stop them?" he said.

Brinda karat live patrika

Photo: Patrika

While the left parties seem to be in favour of doing away with Section 377, the burden now falls on the ruling BJP's shoulders to take a clear stand and extend support to the LGBT community.

The world's largest democracy would do well to take inspiration from the world's youngest democracy Nepal - which has included non-discriminatory laws for the community in its constitution. With this step, Nepal became the first ever Asian country and third country in the world after South Africa and Ecuador to provide full protection to the LGBT people in its constitution.

With our politicians slowly opening up to what a majority of people see as a basic human right, the LGBT community may have reason to celebrate soon.

First published: 6 December 2015, 4:03 IST
Namit Hans @HansNamit

Namit works as a sub-editor at the Speed News desk. He is an economics graduate who stumbled into social work after college. His interest in social issues and desire to write sensitising stories led him to journalism. In his free time, he mostly reads about religion and mythology.