One of the largest countries in the world just took a major step forward for human rights.

The Supreme Court of India declared Thursday that freedom of sexual orientation is a fundamental right and that discrimination based on sexuality is unlawful.

The court ruled that sexual orientation falls under India’s “Right to Privacy” law, and that a person’s sexuality is “an essential attribute of privacy,” according to The Huffington Post.

“Discrimination against an individual on the basis of sexual orientation is deeply offensive to the dignity and self-worth of the individual. Equality demands that the sexual orientation of each individual in society must be protected on an even platform,” it said.

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The decision will not immediately strike down state and local laws that allow for discrimination against LGBT Indians, but it will offer a legal argument to any challenges against those laws, according to The Huffington Post.

A federal law on the books in India, known as Penal Code Section 377, limits how much Indian citizens can express their sexuality or gender orientation. This ruling could help challenge that law, according to the report.

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In case there was any confusion, the court forcefully restated the fact that LGBT rights are real, fundamental rights that cannot be altered.

"The rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender population cannot be construed to be 'so-called rights'... Their rights are not 'so-called' but are real rights founded on sound constitutional doctrine,” the ruling said, according to BuzzFeed.

The full text of the Supreme Court’s decision can be read here.

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Demand Equity

India’s Supreme Court Rules Sexual Orientation Is a Protected Right

By Colleen Curry