India on September 6, 2018, rewrote history after the Supreme Court rejected the 156 years old Section 377 and decriminalised same sex. Almost a year after the historic verdict, two senior women lawyers who spearheaded the fight for the rights of the LGBTQ community have opened up as a couple.
Speaking to US media, advocates Menaka Guruswamy and Arundhati Katju said that the SC verdict over Section 377 had not just been a professional benchmark but a personal victory for them, as they revealed that they are indeed a couple.
Responding to the Top Court's 2013 verdict upholding Section 377, Menaka Guruswamy said that it was not just a loss for the lawyers but also a personal loss.
"The loss in 2013 was a loss as lawyers, a loss as citizens, but also a personal loss. It is not nice to be a criminal who has to go back to the court as a lawyer to argue other cases," said Guruswamy.
Adding to her remarks, Arundhati Katju said that it was extremely difficult, adding that the SC's judgement plays a big part to boost such movement across the world.
"It was extremely difficult. The court where we practised, where we both were lawyers, this court had just said that gay people were second class citizens. I think the Indian Supreme Court judgement plays a big part... because many of these former colonies have sodomy laws because of our shared history of British colonialism," said Katju.
After the judgement, Katju and Guruswamy featured in the Time Magazine's list of 100 Most Influential People 2019 as they forefronted the campaign for equal rights of the LGBTQ community.
A 5-judge bench led by now former Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra on September 6, 2018 unanimously held section 377 (to the extent of sexual acts between consenting adults) as unconstitutional. Mass celebrations erupted across the country with the landmark judgement of the apex court.
Pronouncing the verdict, former CJI Dipak Misra had said:
“I am what I am, So take me as I am, No one can escape from their individuality. Shakespeare said a rose by any other name would smell just as sweet. The name is a convenient concept for identification. Sans identity, the name only remains a term.”
(With ANI inputs)