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India top court rules homosexuality is illegal

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The Supreme Court in India on Wednesday ruled that a lower court was wrong — gay sexual acts are in fact illegal and a 2009 decision that cleared the way of legal acceptance of homosexuality is now moot.

"It appears to be a setback," Anand Grover, a lawyer who speaks for the LGBT community, told The Washington Post. "I can tell you the fight is not over. This is a constitutional fight. It will continue."

A New Delhi court decriminalized homosexuality for the first time in 2009, a controversial ruling that some saw as a slap in the face to the majority conservative and religious culture that guides the nation. But gay rights activists saw it as a landmark moment, and cheered the tossing of an archaic British colonial law in place since 1861 that banned gay acts and deemed them "against the order of nature," punishable by 10 years in prison, The Post said.

That ruling was challenged — and thus, the Wednesday decision.

"All the religious communities — Muslims, Christians and Hindus — had said that this is unnatural sex," said one of the attorneys for the petitioners, in The Post. "Today the Supreme Court held that the earlier judgment was wrong. Tomorrow if the nation feels and if the parliament feels this is a provision that needs to be removed from the Indian penal code, then they can."

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