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Section 377 criminalising ‘unnatural sex’ may be scrapped, says Sadananda Gowda

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D-V-Sadananda-Gowda

By NewsGram Staff Writer

After the historic US verdict legalising same sex marriage received positive reception on social media, India may be planning to move along similar lines.

Union Law Minister DV Sadananda Gowda has indicated that India could move towards abolishing Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, which criminalises ‘unnatural sex’,  including gay liaisons.

Legalisation of gay marriages could also be considered, Gowda said.

“The mood appears to be in favour of it. But it can be done only after widespread consultations and taking all views into account”, added the minister.

For a politician hailing from Puttur in Dakshina Kannada district, the conservative part of the Mangaluru Lok Sabha constituency, Gowda has taken a radical stance.

The coastal belt is known as a stronghold of the Sangh Parivar, and has strong, and negative views on homosexuality.

Irrespective of the views of his patrons,  Gowda contends that a legislation on the rights of transgenders could provide a model for the Indian gay community.

To emphasize the possibility, Gowda pointed out that after several years of delay, a private member’s Bill on the rights of transgenders, moved in the Rajya Sabha by Tiruchi Siva of DMK, had received overwhelming response.

“That Bill has been passed by the Rajya Sabha (in April) and everyone supported it. If that Bill is passed by the Lok Sabha and becomes an Act, Section 377 will become irrelevant,” Gowda said.

However, Gowda’s remarks on the fallout of the legislation on transgenders were somewhat away from reality.

“My bill was just limited to the educational, economic, employment and health rights of transgenders”, Tiruchi Siva of DMK told ET.

The minister added that the bill did not talk about Section 377 or anything other than the rights of transgenders.

Next Story

Spain’s Health Minister to Abolish Gay ‘Conversion Therapy’

Promoting or carrying out conversion therapy is banned in the region of Madrid, regardless of whether the person undergoing it has consented or not. Punishments include fines of up to 45,000 euros ($51,000)

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gay conversion therapy
People protest against the decision of a Brazilian judge who approved gay conversion therapy in Sao Paulo, Brazil on Sept. 22, 2017. VOA

Spain’s health minister called on Wednesday for so-called conversion therapy to be abolished after a report that a branch of the Catholic Church had offered to “cure” gay people.

El Diario, an online newspaper, said a reporter posing as a gay man trying to change his sexuality was told to stop watching porn and masturbate less in a counselling session provided by a diocese of the Catholic Church close to the capital Madrid. Its representatives called the report “fake news.”

Minister expresses regret

But Maria Luisa Carcedo Roces, Spain’s minister for health, consumption and social welfare, expressed regret that the practice persisted, saying it was illegal and calling for it to be “completely abolished.”

“I thought that in Spain, accepting the various sexual orientations was assumed in all areas, but unfortunately we see that there are still pockets where people are told what their sexual orientation should be,” she said at a press conference.

gay conversion therapy
Promoting or carrying out conversion therapy is banned in the region of Madrid, regardless of whether the person undergoing it has consented or not. Punishments include fines of up to 45,000 euros ($51,000). Pixabay

“I regret that this is happening and that a law is being broken,” she said, according to an audio recording sent to the Thomson Reuters Foundation by the ministry press office.

Conversion therapy, which can include hypnosis and electric shocks, is based on the belief that being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender is a mental illness that can be cured.

Promoting or carrying out conversion therapy is banned in the region of Madrid, regardless of whether the person undergoing it has consented or not. Punishments include fines of up to 45,000 euros ($51,000).

‘Fake news’

In a statement on its website the diocese of Alcala de Henares called the report “fake news” and said that while it acknowledged the “respect and love due to all people,” it would offer help to “all those who freely request it.”

Books recommended on the Alcala diocese website include “How to prevent homosexuality: children and gender confusion.”

 

gay conversion therapy
El Diario said the therapist at the Regina Familiae counselling center had told the undercover reporter that she “could go to jail” for trying to help him become straight. Pixabay

The minister also said offering such courses to children would contravene their rights, and that if the law continued to be broken, the Department of Justice would have to decide what action to take.

El Diario said the therapist at the Regina Familiae counselling center had told the undercover reporter that she “could go to jail” for trying to help him become straight.

ALSO READ: One in Five Deaths Globally Due to Overconsumption of Sugar, Salt and Meat

Treatment outlawed

Malta, Ecuador and just over a dozen U.S. states have outlawed conversion therapy, according to the ILGA, a network of LGBT+ rights groups. Countries including Britain, New Zealand and Australia are considering bans.

A fifth of gay, lesbian and bisexual British people who have tried to change their sexuality have attempted suicide, according to a study of the controversial practice in Britain that was released in February. (VOA)