MALAYSIA-INDIA "INCREDIBLE INDIA 2003" BUSINESS FORUM IN KUALA LUMPUR.Asia: In the 2014 Gay Travel Index released February 28 by the publishers of Spartacus International Gay Guide, India is down 15 points in the rankings, making it the worst fall in the world.

The bottom of the pack — countries with hostile locals, anti-gay laws, hostile locals — remain Iran and the United Arab Emirates which have the death penalty for homosexuality.

The index is designed to provide travelers insight into a countries legal and social acceptance of members of the LGBT community.

The top rankings in terms of an upswing in Asia are Taiwan with an increase of 14 and Thailand  with 8. Worldwide Swedon top’s the list and the US landed in the middle of the pack at 38—thanks to anti-gay laws, a lack of marriage equality, and some unfriendly corners of the Land of the Free and tied with Cambodia, said queerty.com.

The index’s authors cited new laws or constitutional changes that support LGBT equality and anti-discrimination for the approved rankings.

The ranking in India is down following a ruling by India’s Supreme Court  making sex with persons of the same gender a punishable offense, India ranking fell to 105 on the index. It was the largest drop in rankings of any country, reported examiner.com.

A 1861 colonial-era law, known as Section 377 of India’s penal code, makes homosexual acts illegal in India. In 2009 the New Delhi High Court decriminalized homosexual acts between consenting adults. However, in December 2013, the Indian Supreme Court overturned the 2009 decision, again criminalizing homosexual acts.

In its ruling, the Supreme Court stated such a change to the law must be made through the legislative process, not a court decision.

Although prosecution under Section 377 is rare, LGBT visitors may wish to avoid drawing attention, the  examiner.com reported.

The index includes all 138 destinations Spartacus covers, but rather than judge them based on their gay nightlife, the publishers rated them according to the laws and customs of each country as the relate to marriage equality, HIV travel restrictions, hate-crime murders, laws against homosexuality and other criteria. Each nation was assigned a positive or negative number value for each category.

The complete listing of all of the countries can be found online at: spartacusworld.com/gaytravelindex.pdf.

Source: examiner.com,queerty.com

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