“I staunchly oppose the criminalization of homosexuality,” said Ban during an event in the Indian capital of New Delhi that marked the 70th anniversary of the U.N.’s founding. “I speak out because laws criminalizing consensual, adult same-sex relationships violate basic rights to privacy and to freedom from discrimination.”
Ban during his speech stressed anti-sodomy laws “breed intolerance,” even if they are not enforced. He also said he is “proud to stand for the equality of all people — including those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.”
“We have to fight for the equality of all members of our human family regardless of any difference, including sexual orientation,” said Ban.
India is among the more than 70 countries in which consensual same-sex sexual relations remain illegal.
The India Supreme Court’s 2013 ruling that reinstated the country’s colonial-era sodomy law sparked widespread outrage among LGBT rights advocates in the South Asian country and around the world. The tribunal last April accepted a motion to reconsider the controversial decision.