>> India's Supreme Court lifted a ban on women entering a top Hindu temple. The Friday ruling is the latest in a flurry of liberal judgments from the courts that have brought on some of the country's most sensitive issues. On Thursday the court decriminalized adultery, and earlier this month, it threw out a law that had criminalized gay sex.
The temple in question, Sabarimala, attracts tens of millions of pilgrims every year. But for centuries it's banned women and girls between the ages of 10 and 50, those who can bear children. Authorities say the tradition was essential to the rights related to the temple's chief diety, Ayyappan. In some Hindu communities, women who are menstruating are seen as unclean, leading to restrictions and in some cases bans on women from entering certain places.
However, Sabarimala is one of the few that does not allow women of a certain age from entering at all. The struggle over equal access to places of worship in India has triggered a wider debate on women's rights there. The ruling came after petition argued the custom violated gender equality.
The lone dissenting judge on Friday's decision argued it's not the courts place to decide, quote, essential religious practices. She was also the only female judge on the bench.