Free Press Journal

US watching outcome of LGBT court case in India


Indian members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community attend the eighth Delhi Queer Pride parade in New Delhi on Sunday.Indian members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community attend the eighth Delhi Queer Pride parade in New Delhi on November 29, 2015. Marching in solidarity and in celebration of their diversity, the LGBT community demanded equal legal, social and medical rights. AFP PHOTO / Money SHARMA

Washington: The US is watching with “great interest” the outcome of an ongoing court case with regard to the LGBT community and their rights, a senior Obama administration official has said.

“We of course are watching the outcome of the court case with great interest. We remain in contact with civil society groups and the government to share our views of our global policy on LGBT rights,” Special US Envoy for the Human Rights of LGBT Persons Randy Berry told reporters here yesterday.

About a year ago, Secretary of State John Kerry had created this one of its kind position in the US Government. Taking over the position in April last year, Berry has travelled to 42 countries around the world including Jamaica, Turkey, Uganda, Indonesia, Bosnia, Kosovo, the Holy See and Israel among others.

“I have not had a chance to travel to India yet. But I would characterise from the reports we received from – not just from India, but from the region, is that the global progression that we see is a very, very uniform in some ways, that I believe that there is a more open public dialogue.

“One thing that is interesting is of the countries that I visited over this first year, there is not a single one that I would single out as saying that they are somehow either immune from what I believe is truly a global movement,” he said. “That is not because we are doing anything particularly to make it so. I think it is happening quite organically. Nor do I think there is any place that necessarily it is impossible to have a conversation on these grounds. I think it can be delicate,” he said.

Berry said the American diplomatic mission in India certainly does engage with the government and with civil society groups there. “I think we have to proceed with great care and make sure that oftentimes that we are making sure that we are conducting our diplomacy with our counterparts in government and not necessarily through the press as an opening salvo.

“I think that those conversations are entirely possible. I think they carry the capacity of being fundamentally productive, as long as we engage in a careful and reasoned way; that I really think that there is great value in a constructive conversation that talks about issues of basic humanity, freedom from discrimination and violence. I think that is a very hard proposition to argue with in almost any country,” Berry added.

In February, the Supreme Court held an open court and referred to a five-judge bench a curative petition challenging its verdict criminalising homosexuality in India.