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India government likely to review anti-gay sex law

BY ASHOK SHARMA
ASSOCIATED PRESS

NEW DELHI -- India's law minister said Thursday that the government has not abandoned efforts to make homosexuality legal, and that the country must take swift action to challenge a Supreme Court decision banning same-sex relations.

The minister, Kapil Sibal, said he was for decriminalizing homosexuality, hinting that the government could seek a judicial review of Wednesday's Supreme Court decision or that Parliament could enact a new law.

"We need to take quick and firm action," he told reporters, noting that millions of people in India do not want homosexuality to be a criminal offense.

The Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that only lawmakers could change a colonial-era law that bans same-sex relations and makes them punishable by up to a decade in prison.

The ruling dealt a blow to gay activists who have fought for years for the chance to live openly in India's deeply conservative society.

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