Marriage Inequality: There are many examples of well-tolerated queer unions

By: |
March 1, 2021 6:30 AM

Govt’s stand on same-sex marriage is regressive; India’s mythology has many examples of well-tolerated queer unions

As if such a regressive stance was not enough, the Centre, as per a report in The Indian Express, has made it clear that it is not “permissible” for the court to override legislative intent that limits the recognition of marriage to heterosexual couples, since this “would cause complete havoc with the delicate balance of personal laws in the country.” (Representative image)As if such a regressive stance was not enough, the Centre, as per a report in The Indian Express, has made it clear that it is not “permissible” for the court to override legislative intent that limits the recognition of marriage to heterosexual couples, since this “would cause complete havoc with the delicate balance of personal laws in the country.” (Representative image)

Pleading “age-old customs, rituals, practices, cultural ethos and societal values” before the Delhi High Court, the Union government has opposed same-sex marriage, claiming a “legitimate State interest” in doing so. So, in the 21st century, there are important ‘concerns’ of “societal morality” which, according to the government, make same-sex relationship s “not comparable” with an “Indian family unit concept” of husband, wife and children.

Single-parents, divorcees with children, men in violation of the bigamy law—including former chief ministers of states and their families, leaders fielded by the ruling party in various elections, etc—by this definition, would be outside the Indian family unit concept. As if such a regressive stance was not enough, the Centre, as per a report in The Indian Express, has made it clear that it is not “permissible” for the court to override legislative intent that limits the recognition of marriage to heterosexual couples, since this “would cause complete havoc with the delicate balance of personal laws in the country.”

While the present should inspire—same-sex unions have legal sanction in 29 countries, nationwide or in certain jurisdictions—there are so many examples of well-tolerated queer unions in Hindu mythology that it should be embarrassing for anyone to claim that ‘cultural ethos’ doesn’t allow for this. In any case, it is difficult to see how a person’s fundamental right to life is not violated when their sexual orientation becomes the basis of denying them the rights that flow from legal recognition of a consensual union as marriage.

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