Thursday, December 12, 2013

Australia re-bans gay marriage, India re-bans gay sex


Australia's High Court recently reversed a territorial law allowing gay marriage, which has further legal implications:
 Had the nation's top court upheld the Australian Capital Territory's gay marriage legislation it would have opened the door to similar laws being passed across the country, pressuring the government to make it legal at a national level.  
 In a unanimous decision, Australia's highest court ruled that the federal parliament -- not state and territory authorities -- had the ultimate say over marriage, and whether it was extended to same-sex couples was a matter for lawmakers.  
 "The Marriage Act does not now provide for the formation or recognition of marriage between same-sex couples," the court said.
Meanwhile, India's Supreme Court has reinstated an implicit ban on gay sex itself.
Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code prohibits sexual activity “against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal.” Violators, including those involved in consensual relationships, face fines and up to 10 years in prison.

While the law has rarely been enforced, analysts say it allows the police to shake down and otherwise harass homosexuals. India, despite having produced the Kama Sutra and being home to sexually suggestive temples and monuments, remains socially conservative.

Homosexuality is still taboo in much of the country, even regarded in places as a form of mental illness, forcing many people to live double lives.
This is especially noteworthy in light of the United Kingdom's upcoming plans to legalize:
That the Indian Supreme Court should re-criminalise gay relationships based on a colonial law that the United Kingdom has long thrown out the window is an irony that has not gone unnoticed in the U.K., where a much-awaited government announcement promising a spring deadline for same- sex marriages has just been made.
Back in the United States, couples are debating whether to cross state lines:
Whenever Tim Bostic would lament that he couldn't marry his partner, Tony London, in Virginia, his sisters had a ready solution: Move to Maryland, where same-sex marriage is legal.

Carol Schall and Mary Townley already had much to show for their relationship. They had a commitment ceremony in 1996 and, 12 years later, were legally married in California.

The two couples are nearly as committed to Virginia as they are to each other, however. Bostic and London, who live along the Lafayette River here, have been together for almost 25 years; Schall and Townley, residents of Richmond, for nearly 30. Moving isn't in the cards. And, therefore, neither is marriage in Virginia – yet.
The global campaigns continue, but time will tell.

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