The late 19th century saw the spread of anti-homosexual criminal laws to British colonies. The iconic example was the Indian Penal Code of 1860, with its prohibition of ‘carnal intercourse against the order of nature,’ a rewriting of the anti-Catholic ‘buggery’ law of 1534. The language of 377 travelled around the British colonial world. France and certain other parts of Europe had decriminalized homosexual acts a century earlier, so the colonial powers of Europe spoke with different voices. Modern decriminalization is largely the product of the human rights era - sixty years since the Charter of the United Nations and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
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