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Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The State Of Gay Rights Around The World

An Indian gay-rights activist takes part in a protest against the Supreme Court ruling reinstating a ban on gay sex in Kolkata on December 11, 2013. (Dibyangshu Sarkar/AFP/Getty Images)

An Indian gay-rights activist takes part in a protest against the Supreme Court ruling reinstating a ban on gay sex in Kolkata on December 11, 2013. (Dibyangshu Sarkar/AFP/Getty Images)

Today’s court ruling in India upheld a colonial-era law that criminalizes gay sex, arguing that it’s the job of the Indian parliament to change the law.

We take a look at India, but also where it fits into the larger picture of gay rights around the world.

Marianne Mollmann, director of programs at the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, joins Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson to discuss gay rights from India to Uganda.

Interview Highlights: Marianne Mollmann

On gay rights in Africa and Argentina

“What we are seeing in Africa, I think, is again, the political use of homophobia, of transphobia, to cover up unpopular policies. … I’ve heard this in so many countries, and not just in Africa. So for example, in Argentina I heard politicians talk about homosexual conspiracy to legalize abortion. So I think that sort of points to a mixed bag, or anything that has to do with sex is something that can be used in a political way. And from our perspective, being lesbian, gay, bisexual or trans, really doesn’t have to do with sex, it has to do with who you love and how you live your life. And that’s a right that’s common to everybody.”

On Pope Francis saying the church focuses too much on gay marriage

“I think it does have an impact. I think it’s important to remember that Pope Francis is obviously Catholic and cannot go against the Catholic dogma. But he is saying that there are other things that we need to look at more closely, like poverty is more important, dealing with development and poverty — that has given an opening to politicians and others to mobilize.”

On how the U.S. is doing on an international scale

“What we are seeing in the U.S. is a lot of movement … on the marriage equality issue. And that’s positive because there are so many families, so many gay and lesbian families with children, without children, that need the protection of the law of their family. And the way we have decided to deal with families is — in our society and many other societies — is that we protect the two-person family. However, I do think that that covers over a lot of persistent homophobia and transphobia and discomfort with persons who don’t feel they want to live in a two-person family that’s supported by the state, etc.


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Robin and Jeremy

Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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