601805Sydney: Rain failed to dampen the spirits of South Asians marchers who turned out for Sydney’s annual gay rights Mardi Gras parade.

Anti-gay laws were the focus of several floats in this year’s march, which saw 10,000 participants and 144 entries wind their way through central Sydney, reported bangkokpost.com.

Rain soaked the city for much of March 1, but skies cleared as the 36th annual parade got underway with the traditional “Dykes on Bikes” motorcycle group.

South Asian gay rights group Trikone demonstrated against India’s colonial-era gay sex ban on a float themed “Proud as a Peacock.” The peacock is India’s national bird.

India’s Supreme Court re-criminalized gay sex, making it a punishable offense. 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.

“There’s room for very serious political comment in Mardi Gras,” said Sydney mayor Clover Moore. “This is a global event, the biggest of its kind in the world, and it’s good to make those statements.”

There was the usual fare of drag queens, Asian marching boys and religious groups calling for greater tolerance, including a float of Christian ministers and pastors, as well as school groups.

Source: bangkokpost.com