In what came as a historic move and a landmark judgment, India's Supreme Court legalised same-sex relations between consenting adults in the country. A senior party member, Shashi Tharoor, said the "government has no space in bedrooms as this is a private act between consenting adults".
Suri's dancers wore rainbow makeup and bright Indian outfits to mark the end of the notorious Section 377 of the penal code, which until Thursday banned same-sex acts as "carnal intercourse against the order of nature".
"I am astounded at people who say that we can not get these rights", said Sunil Mehra, a petitioner in the section 377 case told the Hindustan Times. Some of them welcomed it after almost two decades of legal battle as a victory of marginalised and vulnerable people and sexual minority while maintaining that a long battle for real equality and non-discrimination awaits them at societal, governmental and legal levels in coming days.
The court observed that Section 377 forced the LGBTQ community to "live in hiding" and as "second class citizens" while "others enjoyed right to sexual orientation".
Similar gatherings were held across India, with LGBT community members handing out chocolates in the southern city of Chennai, while gay activists rejoiced on Twitter.
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"History owes the LGBT community an apology for their sufferings", said Justice Indu Malhotra, who was also part of the bench.
The law against gay sex, known as "Section 377", was introduced during British rule of South Asia more than a century-and-a-half ago.
Reading down Section 377 IPC, the Constitution Bench said its provision will however continue to govern sexual acts against minors besides acts of bestiality. "But decriminalisation is a first step", says Justice Chandrachud's judgment.
"Any consensual sexual relationship between two consenting adults - homosexuals, heterosexuals or lesbians - can not be said to be unconstitutional", said the Chief Justice of India, Dipak Misra, as he read out the judgment.
Sukhdeep Singh, a gay rights activist and editor of Gaylaxy Magazine, said the community still had a lot of distance to go "to be legally with your partner".
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"The Bangladeshi LGBT community has gained moral support", said Shahanur Islam, executive director of the Bangladesh Institute for Human Rights.
"Courts do not give advance rulings on issues that are not before it". Back in July of 2009, the Delhi High Court decriminalized homosexuality, but it didn't stick.
"Supreme Court verdict on Section 377 is momentous".
The Supreme Court verdict is being cheered by millions across the country, far beyond the gay community, which has fought for decades for the right to be treated equally. "You can't change the mindsets of the people with the hammer of law", said Pandit Ajay Gautam of the fringe Hum Hindu group.
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