On Thursday, the Indian Supreme Court ruled that privacy is a fundamental right for every person in India — and with that ruling, also cemented rights to freedom of sexual orientation.
As BBC reports, the ruling was made in regards to a case that challenged the government's requirement for Aadhaar cards, documents that identify people based on a 12-number identification number that citizens are given after their finger prints and iris scans have been collected.
The supreme court ruled that privacy is "an integral part of Right to Life and Personal Liberty guaranteed in Article 21 of the Constitution," according to the Associated Press.
While the focus was on the right to privacy as it relates to Aadhaar cards, the ruling had greater implications for other aspects of privacy, including the right to freedom of sexual orientation.
As Scroll.in journalist Mayank Jain pointed out on Twitter, the ruling stated that "sexual orientation is an essential right of privacy," making a huge step for LGBTQ rights in the country.
"The rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender population cannot be construed to be 'so-called rights,'" the ruling stated. "Their rights are not 'so-called' but are real rights founded on sound constitutional doctrine."
Essentially, the ruling has stated that not only is freedom of sexual orientation a right (and an essential part of identity), but also that the identity of every individual should be protected without discrimination. Given that homosexuality is still illegal under Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, many people hope that the supreme court's move will pave the way for LGBTQ equality in India.
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