By Sunil Garodia
First publised on 2023-03-13 09:45:11
A gay person is not sick. He or she just has a different sexual orientation. Hence, contrary to the belief in society, they cannot be 'treated' - neither medically or psychologically nor by religious tantras and mantras. This was one of the compelling reasons that led to the decriminalization of same-sex relationships by the Supreme Court. If same-sex relationships are legal, then why object to same-sex marriages?
The Centre has submitted before the Supreme Court that legalizing same-sex marriages will 'cause havoc'. It has given the usual reasons that it will go against personal laws and societal values. It also said that there is "compelling state interest" in recognizing marriages only between heterosexual couples.
Other than being the overwhelming majority and being able to have biological children,how do marriages between heterosexual couples differ from those between same-sex couples? Yes personal laws are designed for heterosexual marriages, but laws need to change with the times. Once it is decided that same-sex marriages will be legal (which they should be), then laws can be suitably altered to account for that.
As for societal values, will the society be comfortable with same-sex couples just living together without legal sanction and the chaos it might create? Or will it be more comfortable in having them marry with defined laws? In any case, society has to be flexible and responsive to changes. Further, if same-sex marriages are not allowed, it is obvious that families will force gays to marry heterosexuals and live in a marriage that will never work and more importantly, will not achieve the society-defined end of having biological children and complete the so-called 'Indian family unit concept'. Who will take responsibility of ruining such lives?
Instead of creating hurdles, the government must look at how the laws - the definition of a spouse, of inheritance and adoption, among others - need to be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry. Since their relationship is now legal, same-sex couples need to be allowed to exchange vows legally and live in peace thereafter with laws altered to their specific needs and with full support from society and the government.