Google India put out a ‘rainbow flag’ on its homepage on Thursday to mark the decriminalization of consensual gay sex by the Supreme Court. The internet giant, known for its timely theme doodle on various occasions put the colorful icon below the search bar on its webpage. A message ‘celebrating equals rights’ pops up when a cursor is moved over it on Google homepage.
The India page of social media behemoth Facebook also changed its display picture to a multi-hued icon. The rainbow flag, commonly known as the gay pride flag or LGBT pride flag, is a symbol of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) pride and LGBT social movements.
No sooner was the judgment announced, celebrations erupted as people from the community rejoiced in the streets, by dancing and waving rainbow flags with gay abandon. The apex court unanimously held that consensual sex among adult homosexuals or heterosexuals in private space is not a crime, as it struck down part of a British-era law that criminalized it. The path-breaking judgment held that Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code that criminalized consensual gay sex was “irrational, indefensible and manifestly arbitrary”.
While a constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra said the 158-year-old law had become an “odious weapon” to harass the LGBT community by subjecting them to discrimination and unequal treatment, a judge also said that history owed an apology to the community and their families for the delay in providing redressal for the “ignominy” and “ostracism” they have faced through the centuries.
It said Section 377 was a product of Victorian-era morality and there was no reason to continue with it as it enforced Victorian morale on the citizens of the country. While concluding the historic 493-page verdict, Chief Justice Dipak Misra, who headed the constitution bench, said it was time to move from “darkness to light” to herald a new India which would be a more inclusive society.