|Opposition lawmaker Shashi Tharoor|
India threw off British rule decades ago after World War II, yet like parts of Africa that continue decry colonialism, India cannot throw off the shackles of repressed and attitudes toward sexuality and sexual orientation imported by the fanatical Christian missionaries. The irony, of course is that nowadays conservative Hindus support anti-gay attitudes not realizing that such attitudes are the result of British rule, not indigenous native attitudes. As noted before, the scholar work "The Origins and Role of Same-Sex Relations in Human Societies" documents the fouls work of Christian missionaries across the globe in supplanting acceptance of homosexuality. There are some in India who recognize the need to reject this imported societal poison. One such individual is opposition lawmaker Shashi Tharoor who vows to continue the fight for LGBT equality and the repeal of anti-gay laws dating to British colonial rule. a piece in Reuters looks at his efforts. Here are highlights:
An Indian politician campaigning for gay sex to be legalised said on Monday he would continue his fight for the freedom and equality of sexual minorities despite attempts by members of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's party to thwart his efforts.
Opposition lawmaker Shashi Tharoor in December introduced a private member's bill in India's lower house of parliament seeking to amend a British colonial era law which punishes homosexual sex with up to 10 years imprisonment.
Normally opposition comes at the discussion stage, you don't prevent a bill being introduced by a private member, its uncollegial if nothing else," Tharoor told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in an interview.
"But they did that and they succeeded, partly because prejudice sadly is still there in our society."
Seventy four members voted against the bill, said Tharoor, 21 in favour and one member abstained, making it impossible for him to even attempt a debate on the contents of the bill.
India's top court reinstated a ban on gay sex in 2013, ending four years of decriminalisation that had helped bring homosexuality into the open in the conservative country.
The law, which dates back to 1860, prohibits "carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal."
Activists say that since the ban on gay sex was reinstated, there has been a surge in reports of gangs, as well as police, intimidating, harassing, raping, blackmailing and extorting money from lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people.
There are no official figures on the number of cases. Most go unreported, say activists, as victims are too scared to report crimes to the police fearing Section 377 will be used against them. Tharoor said 578 people have been arrested since homosexuality was recriminalised.
Senior BJP leader and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has said he personally believes gay sex should be decriminalised, but lawmakers are fearful of losing support in their largely conservative and religious constituencies.
Tharoor, who was a minister in the former Congress-led government and also a former United Nations diplomat, said he was not giving up his fight for India's LGBT community.
A petition requesting Modi to amend the law has amassed around 25,000 signatures on change.org, said Tharoor, adding that he planned to reach out to sympathisers from the BJP and resubmit the bill in the next session of parliament in February.
"I think a debate will help actually sensitise the nation to the issue at stake. I have long argued that this is not about sex but about freedom. It's about our constitutional values," said Tharoor. "It is indeed about getting the government out of people's bedrooms."
I have many clients originally from India many of whom know I am gay. To them, it is a non-issue, perhaps in part because here same "godly Christians" who hate me hate them as well and view them as destined to Hell. Ironically, a number of them want the husband and me to go to India with them sometime. However, with Section 377 still on the books, I would be apprehensive. Repealing Section 377 would not only be a triumph of freedom, but also a potential boon to tourism.