IT HAS been a bad week for gay rights. An Australian court struck down a recent state law allowing same-sex marriage. In India the Supreme Court upheld an 1860 law that criminalises homosexual acts, overruling a 2009 judgment by a lower court. The guilty face a possible maximum sentence of life imprisonment. Worldwide, countries are increasingly providing legal protections for people to chose with whom they wish to be intimate. Still, more than 80 countries criminalise homosexuality. A majority are former European colonies, particularly of Britain, which exported its anti-gay laws. (India’s 1860 act is a legacy of British rule; the government says it is looking at how to restore the 2009 decision.) Russia penalises homosexuality as part of its “anti-propaganda” rules. In five countries and areas of Nigeria and Somalia, people face the death penalty for sharing private moments with those of the same sex.
This story originally appeared at economist.