WHEN HOMOSEXUALITY WAS decriminalised, the usual suspects spoke about societal tension and the fact that India wasn’t ready for it. Their argument stemmed from their parochial tunnel vision of what they believed was their civilisational legacy: the same jokers would be happy with Sati, or for that matter, regressive dowry, or even triple talaq, until it was undone but when it came to accepting homosexuality, it wasn’t their culture that was pricking their conscience; it was their homophobia. It took the courts and a lot of brave men and women to fight this ridiculous stigma.
Today, the same fuzzy folks have reared their ugly heads and narrow minds. In their mind, they are the purveyors of Indian culture and it is in their soiled hands that Indianness must reside. On a recent television debate, a male (straight) lawyer had the temerity to suggest that he believed more in India’s civilisational legacy rather than its Constitution: now, when you have people such as these as officers of the court, you need to worry. This man talked about Tamil culture and how in Tamil culture, same-sex marriage was not permitted. Is this India we are talking about or only Tamil Nadu? And what gives Tamil culture the right to set the societal path for an entire nation?
I have plain simple logic on this issue of same-sex marriage. Almost 3 per cent (declared) of India’s population is gay. And this is the 2021 Census. I would reckon, in reality, at least 8 per cent of India’s population is gay. Do they not have the right to live like the rest? Must they be stigmatised? Must they not be allowed the rights of the so-called straight population? Must their fundamental rights be trampled on the altar of societal consensus, and what societal consensus are we talking about? If societal consensus was to run our country, why did we need lawmakers and the Constitution? We could have asked the average Joe on the street what he felt on some issue and made that the cardinal principle. There is a reason that same-sex marriages have been referred to a Supreme Court Bench: denying people of the same sex to marry and have the rights of married couples, including adoption, is violative of the spirit of the Indian Constitution: a Constitution that the Supreme Court must not only interpret for these dimwits but also guard. The government cannot and must not get into this debate. The role of the government must be to enact laws that may emerge as a consequence of this judgment, be it laws on adoption, or for that matter, the impediment of many personal laws or special marriage acts.
Almost 3 per cent (declared) of India’s population is gay. I would reckon, in reality, at least 8 per cent of India’s population is gay. Do they not have the right to live like the rest? Must they not be allowed the rights of the so-called straight population? Must their fundamental rights be trampled on the altar of societal consensus?
Share this on
We are in 2023, not 1823. On the one hand, we want the world to know us as Vishwa Guru and on the other, we are partisan and petty to the extent of being hurtful and isolating 8 per cent of our own people. Which government does this? Which society condones this? And how can we ever talk about a five-trillion-dollar economy when our empathy is mired in penury?
We need to recognise that people have the right to love whom they wish. They have the right to have sex in a consenting manner and they have the right to marry whom they wish. Love is gender agnostic and I sincerely hope the Supreme Court understands this. In its recent Roe vs Wade judgment (no matter what you might think of the issue), the US Supreme Court did not bother about societal consensus. Likewise, the Supreme Court of India must not pay heed to the shrillness of the stupid shenanigans of some small-minded people but instead examine this issue through the prism of our Constitution.
Let love bloom and then let it blossom into marriage if people so wish. The government has already interfered with what we wear, what we celebrate, and what we eat. Let’s not now interfere with whom we love and whom we marry. This is not the legacy we wish to leave behind for future generations. We are an evolving civilisation and not a static one.