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Confusion in India over legal stand on gay sex

BY MUNEEZA NAQVI, ASSOCIATED PRESS

NEW DELHI -- A sensitive debate over gay sex in India was thrown into farcical confusion Thursday after a government lawyer urged the Supreme Court to ban it - only for the government to contradict him hours later in a statement accepting a recent ruling that made it legal.

Television channels reported that the lawyer may have gotten confused and read out the wrong statement in front of the Supreme Court reflecting an old government opinion.

Additional Solicitor General P. P. Malhotra told the court that "gay sex is highly immoral and against social order and there is high chance of spreading of diseases through such acts," the Press Trust of India reported.

The Home Ministry quickly issued a statement saying it was not challenging a 2009 Delhi High Court order that struck down a colonial-era law making sex between people of the same gender punishable by up to 10 years in prison. The statement said that the Cabinet had decided not to challenge the 2009 ruling and that the ministry "has not taken any position on homosexuality."

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