TWO YEARS OF DECRIMINALISING SECTION 377: SAME-SEX MARRIAGE; STILL A TABOO IN THE INDIAN SOCIETY!
You are sitting in the veranda of your house.. there’s a stretch of lush green fields ahead.. there’s the distant chirping of the sparrows.. the setting sun slowly makes the dusk fall covering a blanket of darkness in the skies.. no electricity.. no mobile phones.. no industrialization.. Where does this scene transport you to? The 1800s? Okay, that makes sense!
Now, NO legal laws for homosexual couples.. same sex marriage NOT legal.. NO inclusion of LGBTQ+ community in the Marriage Act.. where do you find yourself this time? Still in the 1800s…. or 2021? Exactly my point!
It’s been centuries since the LGBTQ+ community has been fighting to find a place for itself in our society. Even after the decriminalization of Article 377, the Indian constitution does not back the legality of same-sex marriage. These individuals are still not accepted in totality for what they are and are seen as taboo by Indian society.
On the day of 6th September 2018, the decriminalization of Article 377 came as an unanticipated victory. For many, it was a sweet fruit of their years-long struggle. India saw a ray of new hope when the Supreme Court ruled in favor of humanity. The faces behind this historical win were lawyers Menaka Guruswamy and Arundhati Katju, who later revealed themselves as a couple (same-sex). Taking down a 158-year-old colonial law under Article 377 was a significant win for the LGBTQ+ community in India.
Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code observes sexual activities “against the order of nature” as illegal. But after parts of it were stricken down, homosexuality was decriminalized in India. The question arises if it is socially accepted if two individuals of the same sex fall in love with each other, then why aren’t same sex marriages still not legalized in India?
The root of all the problems lies in the mindset of the people. For a country where even pronouncing the word ‘sex’ loudly in public is looked down upon, it is a distant reality to dream of the day when we become a nation that considers the LGBTQ+ community as a part of our society and grants them equal rights in every aspect of life. We have no doubt decriminalized homosexuality, but what status does the Indian constitution give to same-sex couples? These couples in love are nothing less than strangers in law!
The view of the Indian society on same-sex marriages revolves around whether their faith or culture finds it appropriate or not. The validity of these marriages is based on the considerations of ‘societal morality’ and religion which are out of date with modern times, rather than what the individuals want for themselves.
Numerous petitions which sought the recognition of same-sex marriages were dismissed under the existing laws on Thursday, 25th February. The Centre cited that India’s marriages depended on “age-old customs, rituals, practices, cultural ethos and societal values” (sources: The Indian Express). Living together as accomplices and having a sexual relationship with the equivalent sex is not similar to the Indian family unit concept which surmise a husband, a wife and kids conceived of sexual union was the reply from the Centre for dismissing the pleas of same sex marriages in India. (sources: The Quint)
The struggle is real for all the same-sex couples in India. Kavita Arora and Ankita Khanna are among the many homosexual couples who have no legal status in their relationship. These couples miss out on all the rights heterosexual couples enjoy, like – transferring property rights, opening a joint bank account, an inheritance of property, making critical medical decisions when situations call for it and so on. Khanna in her interview with the Times says she and her partner have made a great life for themselves but says there’s no legitimacy to it which is a sad reality.
Ayaan Syed and Siddhartha Verma, another couple, find moving out of India and traveling to a country where LGBTQ+ marriage is legal a much better option. They say buying a property or adopting a child will be way too complicated for them in a country like India. (sources: ETimes)
India is undoubtedly lagging when it comes to addressing the much-needed changes. It took nearly 25 years for the Indian courts only to decriminalize homosexuality. But indeed, there’s some improvement in the way people look at the LGBTQ+ community. The LGBTQ Pride months and parades earlier rejected as western culture and influence are now being hosted in many parts of the country. It helps people come out and accept themselves boldly for what they are. Last year a movie named “Shubh Mangal Zyada Savdhan” hit the Bollywood box-office, which revolved around a gay couple. Every small action taken in the betterment of the LGBTQ+ community creates awareness among the youth. It helps the new generation in accepting the concept of LGBTQ in a much positive way.
So the day won’t be far when same-sex marriages will also be an accepted reality by the Indian society when we start taking an individual’s identity, not on the terms of prejudices and letting humanity thrive over everything else!
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