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CHENNAI, India — The Delhi High Court’s recent ruling that decriminalized sex between two consenting men or women is widely seen in India as a move toward a healthier sexual climate. Though confined to Delhi now, the law could eventually be adopted by the country’s other regions.

The Delhi ruling quashed a terribly archaic law, inherited from the British Raj, which termed gay sex “unnatural.” The section of the law in question, 377, was culture-specific, having originated in Victorian England before being transported to the colonies. British rulers felt that Indians and, of course, other colonial subjects were not civilized enough — even too sexually perverse — to enjoy freedom. This line of thought stigmatized sex, most certainly homosexuality, and the legacy persists today.

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