New Delhi: The wheel has come a full circle, with political parties once opposed to the idea lining up in support of the Supreme Court judgement on Thursday decriminalizing homosexuality.

The two national parties were opposed to decriminalizing homosexuality up until a few years ago. However, the Congress has supported the move for some time now, with the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) following in its footsteps more recently.

In 2013, the BJP under the leadership of then party president Rajnath Singh, who is present home minister, categorically stated that it was of the view that homosexuality should not be decriminalized. However, this view started to change with a change in the top leadership.

“There was no widespread discussion within the BJP about the issue which led to the change in the view of the party. It happened because Prime Minister Narendra Modi and finance minister Arun Jaitley were of the view that section 377 should be decriminalized and the party should not be a hindrance in the process," said a senior BJP leader in the know of the development.

Interestingly, the BJP’s change of heart was also reflected in the view of its ideological parent the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), which too came out support of the Supreme Court judgement on Thursday, while opposing same-sex marriages.

“Like the Supreme Court, we also do not consider this to be a crime. Same-sex marriages are not compatible with the norms of nature, so we do not support such relations. Bharatiya (Indian) society also does not have the tradition of recognising such relations," said Arun Kumar, chief spokesperson of RSS.

The Congress, during the first term of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government, had opposed the decriminalization of homosexuality with two of its key ministries—home and health—contradicting each other.

Its stand changed dramatically, with none other than then party president Sonia Gandhi batting in favour of decriminalization.

Having kept up its pressure over the past few years, the opposition party on Thursday lent robust support to the court judgement with some of its top leaders speaking in its favour.

“Supreme Court verdict on #Section377 is momentous. An age-old colonial law, that was an anachronism in today’s modern times, ends restoring the fundamental rights & negating discrimination based on sexual orientation. It’s an important step forward towards a liberal, tolerant society," Randeep Surjewala, Congress chief spokesperson wrote on Twitter.

gyan.v@livemint.com

Close