Topic- Since when did love become
After years of hiding behind the shadows to not reveal their identity, I think
the LGBT community deserves the right to enjoy their sexuality. As we all are
aware, homosexuality is still a crime in India under Section 377 of the Indian
Penal Code (Harris, 2013)i. In 2009, Delhi High Court
reviewed and suspended the law, and gave the community a new ray of hope. But,
the hope was soon shattered into pieces when the Supreme Court of India on
December 11th, 2013 gave its ruling to reinstate Section 377
Homosexuality has persisted in India since the Pre-Colonial Era, without any
horrifying penalties for the ‘unnatural’ act back then. Books like Mahanirvana
Tantra, Kama Sutra and other Sanskrit texts in the 18th Century have
revealed myths about homosexuality (Alain, 1994)iii. This suggests that as we’ve
modernised, the ideology of Indian society has moved away from its own roots.
The LGBT Community in India still faces a lot of discrimination even when our
world seems to have revolutionized. Their relationships are not legally recognized
therefore the LGBT community cannot lawfully get married. And here’s why I
think gay marriage should be legalized in India.
The crime rate against LGBT Community
has increased over the years. Aparna Banerjee, a transgender, was gang raped in
Kolkata, and when she tried to report a file, the police refused (Dulai, 2014)iv. There have been numerous
other cases where homosexuals were beaten up by the common public, but none of
those cases were filed as a crime. Homosexuals are not given equal job
opportunities if their identity is revealed. India recently voted with the US, Saudi
Arabia, China and five more countries against the UN Resolution on banning the
death penalty for homosexual acts. The US and India are anti-terror countries,
but didn’t seem to notice the irony when they showed their support for death
penalty for the LGBTQ Community. This move of the government shows how
intolerant they are to the homosexuals.
In India, 22% of its
population lives below its official poverty line (worldbank.org, 2016) , and a
new study found out that India is a home to approximately 20 million orphans,
which is 4% of India’s child population; main reason for their abandonment was a
significant rise in poverty over the past few decades. This figure is projected
to be increased to 24 million orphans by 2021 (worldbank.org, 2016). These 20
million kids can be given a home if gay couples could legally adopt them, since
they cannot procreate. As former Washington Post columnist Ezra Klein wrote,
“We should be begging gay couples to adopt children. We should see this as
a great boon that gay marriage could bring to kids who need nothing more than
two loving parents” (Klein E., 2013)
The homosexuals lack
socio-economic equality in terms of jobs, wages, houses and reputation in the
society. They do not have any governmental benefits like subsidies, taxes,
health insurance as a family etc. Depression
prevails in the community of LGBT, as they cannot enjoy your identity
legitimately. If the homosexuals can get married legally, the psychological
disorders among them will rapidly reduce. A 2012 study by researchers from
UCLA, San Francisco State University, and the University of Massachusetts at
Amherst found that same-sex married couples were “significantly less
distressed than lesbian, gay, and bisexual persons not in a legally recognized
relationship” (Wight, 2013)v.
A 2010 analysis published in the American Journal of Public Health found that
after their states had barred gay marriage, gay, lesbian and bisexual people
suffered a 37% increase in mood disorders, a 42% increase in alcohol-use
disorders, and a 248% increase in generalized anxiety disorders (Vedantam,
2013)vi. In the US, reports
informed a 21% decline in the divorce rate in Massachusetts since they
legalised gay marriage in 2003 (Silver, 2010)vii. These statistics prove
how vital it is for the LGBTQ Community to relish a sustained and legal right
for marriage. Most of the states in the US have same-sex marriage legalized,
but in India, the mention of ‘homosexuality’ would dishonour the status of the
When we think about the reasons why homosexuality is illegal in India, one of
the alleged significant causes that comes to the surface is ‘religion’.
Hinduism, being one of the most popular religions practiced in India, have
inferences in their religious texts which mention homosexuality as a
non-derogatory form of act; rather a natural and joyful experience (Bonvillian,
2001)viii. Carvings on several
Hindu temples have been found which depict men and women engaging in homosexual
acts (Michael, 2006)ix.
These factual statements indicate that religion should neither be a basis to
limit gay marriage in India, nor should it be pushed into the concept of
Despite these pros for legalizing gay marriage in India, a huge population believes
that marriage is for procreation and the right to marriage should not extended
to same-sex couples who cannot produce their offspring, as this has always been
the standard institutional belief of the marriage system (Mack, 2010)x. Another controversial argument
made by politicians and religious advocates all over the globe is that
‘Homosexuality is immoral and unnatural’. And, the public is less likely to
change their traditional belief system for a minority of homosexuals prevailing
in India. J. Matt Barber, Associate Dean for Online Programs at Liberty
University School of L, stated that “Every individual engaged in the
homosexual lifestyle, who has adopted a homosexual identity, they know,
intuitively, that what they’re doing is immoral, unnatural, and self-destructive,
yet they thirst for that affirmation” (Edwards, 2014)xi. Maulana Madni, of an
Islamic organization, Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind, has echoed similar homophobia in
stating that “Homosexuality is a crime according to scriptures and is
unnatural. People cannot consider themselves to be exclusive of a society… In
a society, a family is made up of a man and a woman, not a woman and a woman,
or a man and a man. If these same sex couples adopt children, the child will
grow up with a skewed version of a family. Society will disintegrate. If we are
to look at countries in the West who have allowed same-sex marriages, you will
find the mental tensions they suffer from” (Rowson, 2004)xii. Rabbi Ezekiel Isaac
Malekar, honorary secretary of the Judah Hyam Synagogue, in upholding the
judgement, was also quoted as saying “In Judaism, our scriptures do not
permit homosexuality.” Reverend Paul Swarup of the Cathedral Church of the
Redemption in Delhi in stating his views on what he believes to be the unnaturalness
of homosexuality, stated “Spiritually, human sexual relations are
identified as those shared by a man and a woman. The Supreme Court’s view is an
endorsement of our scriptures” (Madhukalya, 2013)xiii. Another refutation
made on legalizing gay marriage in India is the enormous risk of going down the
‘slippery slope’. In Apr. 2013 Slate writer Jillian Keenan wrote: “Just
like heterosexual marriage is no better or worse than homosexual marriage,
marriage between two consenting adults is not inherently more or less ‘correct’
than marriage among three (or four, or six) consenting adults” (Keenan, 2013)xiv. James C. Dobson,
Founder and Chairman of Focus on the Family, predicted in 2005 that legalizing
same-sex marriage will enable concepts like “group marriage,”
“marriage between daddies and little girls,” and “marriage
between a man and his donkey” to evolve and aggravate in society
Despite these counterarguments, I strongly believe that everybody has a right
to love and enjoy a legal relationship with the person they love, regardless of
their sexual orientation. Being a liberal 21st century citizen, I
urge my fellow citizens to step into the shoes of a gay individual, imagine the
desolation and desperation they feel when they cannot be someone they identify
themselves as. IMAGINE, and you’ll empathize.
In conclusion, I would like to ask- ”Love’ is not a ‘crime’ in my dictionary,
is it in yours?”.
i Harris, G. (2013) ‘India’s Supreme Court
restores an 1861 law banning gay sex’, NY
S. (11 December 2013). “India’s Supreme Court turns the clock back with
gay sex ban”. Reuters. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-india-rights-gay/indias-supreme-court-turns-the-clock-back-with-gay-sex-ban-idUSBRE9BA05620131211
iii Danielou, A. 1994. The Complete Kama
Sutra, Part Two, Chapter Nine, entitled “Superior Coition or Fellation
Auparishtaka. Rochester, VT: Park Street Press.
Dulai, S. (2014) “BACK IN THE SHADOWS: THE PERILS OF BEING LGBT IN INDIA”. News Week. http://www.newsweek.com/india-gay-lgbt-modi-transgender-us-kolkata-civil-rights-coming-out-295483
R., February 2013, “Same-Sex Legal Marriage and Psychological Well-Being:
Findings from the California Health Interview Survey,” American Journal of Public Health.
Vedantam, S. May 20, 2013, “Bans of Same-Sex Marriage Can Take a
Psychological Toll,” NPR.org.
Silver N., Jan. 12, 2010 “Divorce Rates Higher in States with Gay Marriage
Bans,” Five Thirty-Eight. www.fivethirtyeight.com.
viii Bonvillain, Nancy (2001). ‘Women and men:
cultural constructs of gender’. Prentice Hall. p. 281. ISBN
ix Keene, Michael (2002). Religion in Life and Society. Folens Limited. p. 58. ISBN 978-1-84303-295-3.
Mack D., 2010, “Now What for Marriage?” www.wsj.com.
David Edwards, “‘Grow a Spine!’: Huckabee Explodes at GOP for Giving up as
Gays Break ‘Nature’s Law’ of Marriage,” rawstory.com, Oct. 13, 2014
xii Everett K. Rowson (2004). “Homosexuality”.
In Richard C. Martin. Encyclopedia of Islam and the Muslim World. MacMillan
Madhkalya A., 2013 “Rare unity: Religious leaders come out in support of
Section 377”. DNA India. http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report-rare-unity-religious-leaders-come-out-in-support-of-section-377-1933612
Jillian Keenan, April 2013, “Legalize Polygamy!” Slate.com.
Schweber-Koren R, Oct. 7, 2005, “Dobson: Same-Sex Marriage Would Lead to
‘Marriage between Daddies and Little Girls … between a Man and his Donkey”.