Monday, September 15, 2014
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Global gay rights under attack this week

Between Vladimir Putin's decision to head up Russia's state news agency with a noted anti-LGBT official and Australia's striking down of Canberra's bid for gay marriage, gay rights have suffered around the globe this week.

Global gay rights under attack this week

Gay rights activists attend a protest meeting after the top Indian court ruled that a colonial-era law criminalizing homosexuality will remain in effect in India in New Delhi, India, Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013. The Supreme Court threw out a 2009 New Delhi High Court decision that struck down the law as unconstitutional, dealing a blow to gay activists who have argued for years for the chance to live openly in India´s deeply conservative society. The top court said it was for lawmakers and not the courts to decide the matter. (AP Photo/Saurabh Das)
Gay rights activists attend a protest meeting after the top Indian court ruled that a colonial-era law criminalizing homosexuality will remain in effect in India in New Delhi, India, Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013. The Supreme Court threw out a 2009 New Delhi High Court decision that struck down the law as unconstitutional, dealing a blow to gay activists who have argued for years for the chance to live openly in India's deeply conservative society. The top court said it was for lawmakers and not the courts to decide the matter. (AP Photo/Saurabh Das) Saurabh Das

Between Vladimir Putin's decision to head up Russia's state news agency with a noted anti-LGBT official and Australia's striking down of Canberra's bid for gay marriage, gay rights have suffered around the globe this week. 

Australia's decision to repeal Canberra's gay marriage legalization annulled the marriages of nearly 30 couples. Tragic, but the bigger issue is that Canberra's gay marriage provisions allowed for non-residents to travel to the capitol and be married as well, effectively shutting the door to widespread gay unions in the country. Austalian authorities say that only Parliament can make provisions about who can be married, with 2002's decision to define marriage as between a man and a woman having long been a point of contention. Especially with a majority of Australians throwing their support behind the issue.

India also struck a blow to the global acceptance of gay rights this week with their overturning of a lower court ruling that legalized gay sex. So, essentially, consensual same-sex relationships are back to being punishable by a 10-year prison term. But, as the Wall Street Journal recently noted, the ban in question goes back to before India gained independence from England: 

"Many Commonwealth countries inherited the Victorian-era law during British colonial rule. Countries such as Malaysia, Indonesia, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, among others, still have some version of it on their statute books, said Meenakshi Ganguly, the South Asia director of the U.S.-based Human Rights Watch."

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Britain, for its part, decriminalized gay sex in the late 60s. Howerver, laws against consensual gay sex are still enforced in former British colonies due to their inheritance of Britain's aging legal system. 

Meanwhile, here at home, we're simply wondering if none of our business should be able to discriminate against gay people, or just some of them.

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Reach Nick at nvadala@philly.com .

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