In Decriminalizing Same-Sex Intercourse, Indian Law Catches Up With Indian Culture

Washington, DC (September 6, 2018) — Until today, when the Indian Supreme Court struck down the colonial-era law which criminalized consensual homosexual intercourse under Indian Penal Code Section 337, sex deemed “against the order of nature” could be punished with life imprisonment. Now, Indian law has caught up with Indian culture, leaders of the Hindu American Foundation asserted.

“There is no fundamental reason in Hindu spiritual teachings to reject or ostracize homosexuals,” said Swami Venkataraman, HAF National Leadership Council member and author of HAF’s brief on Hinduism and homosexuality.

“The core of Hindu spiritual teachings is that an individual’s essential nature is not rooted in his or her sexual orientation, or any external physical traits. What is most important is our ability to simultaneously embrace and see beyond these apparent external differences to celebrate the Divine core of our being, to transcend the body, senses, and ego,” Venkataraman concluded.

With decriminalization of consensual sexual relations finally achieved, one remaining challenge for Indians, both in India and the diaspora, is fully making our families, religious centers, and organizations a welcoming space for LGBTQ individuals. That will be one more important step in shedding the Victorian-era mores that continue to influence Indic-sensibilities today.

Read HAF’s past statements and articles on Hinduism and/or homosexuality: