Same Sex Marriage

Same sex marriage or Gay marriage is marriage between the two people of the same biological sex and/or gender identity. Though many Countries are recognising this concept, there are some which opposes the Gay marriages, India being one of such country which makes same sex marriage illegal after the Supreme Court’s verdict on December 11, 2013. As per Supreme Court’s decision section 377 of IPC is still valid which makes homosexual sex punishable by law and carries a 10yr sentence.

Same sex marriage is not a new concept as it dates back to ancient times with the performance of first same sex marriage during early Roman Empire. Many historical figures, including Socrates, Lord Byron and Edward II have had terms such as Gay or bisexual applied to them. The concept of same sex marriage has not developed that much over time but with the legalisation of same sex couple relationship by the Denmark, it was a new beginning and in 2001, Netherlands became the first nation in the world to grant same sex marriages. As of till date, 16 countries and several sub -national jurisdictions allow same sex couple to marry. The recognition of same sex marriage is political, social, human rights and civil rights issue, as well as a religious issue in many nations and around the world and debates continue to arise over whether same sex couple should be allowed marriage, or instead be allowed to hold a different status (civil union), or be denied such rights. 

While some countries gave the same sex marriages a legal status, some only recognises it but no legal status while in others penalty is imposed which includes imprisonment and also death penalty. In Africa there is non-sexual same sex marriage; it’s kind of an arrangement. In some countries it is recognised as “Civil Union or Civil partnership or Domestic partnership or registered/unregistered partnership”. Many same sex couple and others supporting them rejects this notion and consider it as inferior to the legal recognition of same sex marriage. Many people treat such couples differently and don’t even consider them as part of the society.

The society gives many reasons for not recognising same sex marriages. First of all, it is not a marriage according to them. Such narrow minded people think that marriage is a covenant only between man and woman and also the purpose of marriage is procreation of children only. It is considered violation of natural law and such people considers gay marriage as abomination. Many people also see Gay people as “freaks” and totally ignore their feelings and humiliate them and treat them differently and also bully them. And most importantly gay marriage is considered as offending the God.  For these people God’s law comes before any law. But how can anyone say that it offends. God when God created them as such and god loves all his creations. They are not Gay by choice. They are born like this. It’s all biological. And amongst the society which hates gay people, there are those who understand them. More than twice as many people consider being gay as “just the way they are”, rather than something they chose.

Support for same sex marriage has increased more rapidly than almost any social issue in the past decade. Many polls show that people who were against the legalisation of gay sex are now in favour of it. The shifting attitude extends beyond the issue of marital rights to more basic beliefs about the nature of homosexuality and its implications for child rearing. Most States allow adoption by same sex couples; even States which do not recognise same sex marriage allow the adoption by unmarried same sex couple. However, there are many who thinks that it is in the best interest of the child to be raised under the influence of his/her natural father and mother and that a child of the same sex marriage is deprived of either his/her father or mother but that is not the case. Even Scientific research has also shown that Gay and Lesbian parents are as fit and capable as heterosexual parents and their children are as psychologically healthy and well-adjusted as the children raised by heterosexual parents. Also, most gay couple adopts child, this means a lot more of orphans would be given loving parents, a better home and proper education.

In India, homosexuality is considered as taboo. Even highly educated people also treat them as defected without knowing about their feelings or without understanding them. People never try to understand them that it’s not their fault that they are gay. Gay people can’t help being attracted to the same sex. Though Gay marriage is not explicitly prohibited in India but section 377 of IPC makes sex with person of same gender punishable by law. This law was struck down by the 2009 Delhi High Court decision in Naz foundation v. govt. of NCT of Delhi, which found section 377 and legal prohibitions against same sex conduct to be in direct violation of Fundamental Rights provided by the Indian Constitution. Decisions of HC on the constitutionality of a law apply throughout the India. However, even after the pronouncement of verdict, there have been incidents of harassment of homosexual people. Even in bunch of appeals filed before SC against decriminalisation of gay sex in 2012, SC observed that homosexuality should be seen in the context of changing society where phenomena of live-in relationship, single parents and artificial fertilisation has become normal, as many things which were earlier unacceptable have become acceptable with the passage of time. However, after the Delhi HC’s verdict, many anti-gay rights activists, politicians, social and religious organisations came ahead challenging the decision of Delhi HC. Even the Union Home Ministry expressed its opposition for the decriminalisation of gay sex by saying that it is highly immoral and against the social order and also that India’s social and moral values are different from other countries and that nation should be guided by them. But central government reversed its stand con 28 February, 2012, asserting that there was no error in decriminalising the gay sex. Thus, the Union Government made this an entirely political issue and mocks the homosexual community and the Indian Judicial system. Hence, in December 2013, SC upheld the introduction of a law that criminalises the gay sex, in a ruling that reverses the landmark 2009 Delhi HC judgement. The court said it was up to parliament to legislate on the issue. Thus, gay sex was made a criminal offence by traditionally interpreting the section 377, a 153-year-old colonial-era law, as condemning the same sex relationship as “unnatural offence”.

The protests against the reinstitution of section 377 took place across India, and resulted in political activism across political parties to declare their support for the law’s repeal. Many parades have been organised across India to support gay sex like Bengaluru Pride, Bhubaneswar Pride, Chennai Pride, Delhi Queer Pride parade, Mumbai Queer Azadi March and there is even Mumbai Queer Film Festival and Queer Media Collective Awards. For decades people fought for the termination of slavery, women’s rights, immigration rights and now they are fighting for Gay rights. Gay people are just like us but they are attracted to same sex people. I don’t see any problem with gay marriage. It’s not a choice to be gay. It’s all hormonal and not some psychological defect or disability. You don’t choose who you love, you just do and using religion as an excuse is not right as god created them. Gay people have just as much right of a right to marry as heterosexual people. No one should be denied of their right to marry the one they love. They have the same right to express themselves as others. Just because of their biological structure gay people should not be denied the rights they deserve. They are humiliated and bullied and discriminated to the point of committing suicide. Laws are needed for their protection. The constitution’s commitment to liberty and equality protects gay marriage. Same sex marriage is a civil right. Government should take steps for protecting gay people’s rights and for making gay marriage legal.

However, despite the changing views of society, a deep difference in opinion remains along the religious, generational and political lines. People need to open their mind and stop being so uptight and narrow minded. Government and society still has conservative views about same sex marriage. It’s a shame we are that way because we could be so much more.

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