My analytical coursework is a magazine article that expounds
upon the legal implications and Indian perceptions of same sex relationships. Homophobia
is ingrained within all segments of Indian society and even education has not
mitigated it. The purpose of writing this article is to try and change
perceptions by addressing the concerns and fears that people harbour over
homosexuality. This article that is suitable for publication in magazines
that feature human-interest stories such as Reader’s Digest, and other
magazines featuring current affairs like India Today. My target audience
includes teenagers and adults sympathetic towards causes, religious leaders,
politicians, lawyers, and activists. The register of the article is
semi-formal, and the tone is analytical and introspective.
Word Count: 115
From Closet to Altar?
the concept of same sex marriages be accepted and legalized in India?
Marriage has been defined as “A
legalized union of two individuals committed to sharing an exclusive permanent
relationship of mutual respect and deep affection.” Until recently, whenever impediments
to the concept of marriage arose, they usually concerned race, religion, class
or caste. However nowadays, in conservative societies, one of the most
controversial issues is that of same sex marriages. While liberals are in
favour of it, conservatives denounce it.
India’s considers itself to be one of the fastest growing economies, and yet it
can be so regressive in its thinking processes. Unfortunately, cultural
conventions largely account for this censure, giving rise to intolerance and dogmatism,
which are rampant, and unfortunately proliferating. The
very fact that two same-sex individuals who love each other and want to spend
the rest of their lives together in matrimonial bliss are being denied the
legal right to do, so elucidates the fact that personal freedom is a matter of
perception: what leaders in society perceive as morally correct is acceptable;
other view points do not merit consideration and should be discounted and
dismissed. As a result, homophobia
shows no signs of abating in contemporary Indian society.
We pride ourselves on our
democratic governmental structure, which propagates freedom of speech and
expression. Therefore one should not preclude the acceptance of individuals who
are differently inclined in their sexual preferences. The freedom to choose
one’s friends and life partners are the liberal ideals of democratic societies,
and naturally, its citizens consider this as their fundamental right. It is not surprising that such
individuals are therefore questioning the efficacy of a democratic system that
prohibits individuals from openly opting for
same-sex life partners. They
opine that citizens with civic consciousness who are law-abiding, whose sexual
orientations do not infringe on the liberties of others or cause them harm, as
in the case of paedophiles, should not be denied such personal liberties.
While hypocritical politicians emit
war cries over gay relationships that incite no acrimony or violence, they simultaneously
propound policies that lead to racial discord within this country. They defend
their conservative ideologies by citing an archaic law- section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, under which homosexuality
is listed as an criminal offence, implying it
is an ‘unnatural act.’ The phrase `carnal intercourse against the order of
nature’ needs to be stricken off from this Code, as it is condemnatory and
judgmental. However, politicians and their sycophants do not want to upset
their conservative clergy and their electorate with radical ideas. Hence they
have abstained from repealing this law. Thus, if an individual is open about his sexual
orientation, he runs the risk of imprisonment in India, with homosexuality
being listed as a criminal offense.
Not surprisingly, since
time immemorial, opposition to same sex unions has been sanctified by
‘supposed’ religious tenets. However, almost all religious scriptures state that God treats all his progeny equally; if the Almighty does so,
shouldn’t the same analogy be applicable to mankind and to the manner in which
he treats his brethren? The Deuteronomy 10:17 states: ‘For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God,
mighty, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes.’ Therefore, the right for
gay persons to be socially accepted should attract no censure.
Moreover, the legalization of same-sex
marriages would also indicate emotional evolvement and spiritual growth. It would
demonstrate that our society has finally matured enough to understand and
respect the desires, needs and dignity of all kinds of individuals, whether
they share their beliefs or not. We need to accept the fact that some people
are different. By legalizing his or her marriages, we are turning every
individual’s moral right into a civil right. Moreover, we are automatically
inculcating within these partners notions of responsibility, loyalty and
commitment, all of which are positive qualities and highly regarded in
Arguments against same sex marriages often concern parenthood,
since marriage is not only perceived as a
commitment between two people, but also as a form of procreation. With two partners of the same sex, it is obvious that
there can be no conception, and therefore adoption would be the most obvious
means of introducing children into their family fold. There are millions
of Indian children in foster homes and orphanages needing loving and secure
homes, and millions of gay people who would like to start families; surely the
two can mutually benefit each other? Why deprive either the children or adult
gay individuals the right to be part of a family? By encouraging childless gay
couples to adopt, fewer children will remain in foster homes and orphanages.
Moreover, adoption will also encourage the nurturing and propagation of strong
family values and thereby strengthen the moral fibre of our society.
The fear that these adopted children would imbibe a
warped sense of values or of relationships is unfounded. Exposure to social media has resulted in children
losing their naivety and innocence at an early age; they have become far more
aware of the nuances of sexual relationships. Even if children of gay partners
realize that their family structure is different from that of conventional
families, the very fact that these children realize that they are needed and
cherished in a secure family environment rather than an impersonal orphanage,
will enable them to surmount any awkwardness they may experience with same sex
Throughout history laws have changed over time.
Before the American Civil War, black people were not afforded any civil rights.
It was only in the 13th amendment in 1865 that slavery was banned.
Women in America were not given the right to vote until 1920. In India itself,
social conventions that were unacceptable
earlier, such as love-marriages and women’s right to education, have become
acceptable with the passage of time.
legalize these marriages, we need to change this law that equates gays with
criminals like rapists; and to change the law we must first change our outlook
towards homosexuality in the context of a changing
society. Though change takes time, historic past events have
depicted that it can happen, and that too with positive results. Same
sex marriages is merely the formalized union and recognition of individuals who
love and care for each other, and unabashedly want to proclaim their commitment
to the world. Therefore the time has arrived for a deep insightful review of
this legislation by our lawmakers upon whom the mantle for this change
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