The recent discussions about gay rights and same sex marriage demands made me remember the time when I was complaining a lot about generation gap. This was the time when I wanted to get married to the girl of my choice. The reason for these complaints was the fact that my mother wanted me to have an arranged marriage while I was, one opposed to the idea and two, more importantly, as I have said I had already decided whom I wanted to marry.
Once during that turbulent time of my life, while talking to my now wife and then girlfriend’s boss, when I again spoke about the generation gap, he told me something which I do not think I’ll ever forget. He said, “Sanjeev, let us say 25 years down the line your son was to come to you with a man and tell you that he wanted to marry him, what will be your reaction?” When he saw the look of utter shock on my face, he smiled and said, “And then your son will complaint about this very same generation gap.”
Anyway, this story is not about generation gap (may be we’ll discuss that some other time) but about gay rights, LGBT rights movement and same sex marriage. While it might be construed from the above episode I am not a big fan of the gay movement, but let it known that I go with Voltaire and believe that even though I do not agree with your ideas, I support your right to express them. I am therefore a supporter of Equal Rights for LGBT community.
My Take On Gay Rights And Same Sex Marriage
I think that if two consenting adults of the same-sex want to live in union, they ought to be allowed to do so. It may be unnatural, against accepted social mores, etc, but that is our problem.
I was talking to someone today and he said, what if a man said that he wanted to have sex with a goat, will you allow that. The answer is a simple no, because it is not an act between two consenting people. Goat has no consent. And hence it cannot be allowed. Just as murder, rape etc are acts between two dissenting people and that is why they are to be treated as crimes.
The next argument was, “in that case if two consenting people decided to indulge in a sexual act in public, why do you object to it?” Again the answer is that the moment it is an act in public, it ceases to be an act just between two consenting people. It affects all the people who are witness to it and hence “if” they object to it, then it is not permissible.
It is this very argument that has enabled a ban on smoking in public. An individual has the right to smoke as long as his smoke does not meet the nostrils of another person. As soon as that happens, his right clashes with that of the other party, and hence the ban.
I have also been reading about other objections in the media by people like Swami Ramdev who have said that it is a disease and hence it should be stopped. If it is a disease, then it has to be cured and not stopped by law. Cancer cannot be made illegal and hoped to be treated thus.
Gay Rights & Same Sex Marriage
Another argument is that if we can make same sex marriage legal by arguing that it is an act between two consenting adults, then prostitution should also be made legal because it is an act between two consenting adults. A valid point I would say, but I think the considerations of women trafficking and forcing girls into flesh trade are the reasons why it is not being legalized. Of course the government has the option of making prostitution legal and at the same time pimping and forcing women into the trade as illegal, but the political price will be too heavy and I do not think we in India have come to that stage where someone will bell the cat so easily.
In fact that is also the case with gay rights. And that is why the government is being smart and allowing the courts to decide the course of the entire debate. The government is not keen to take up the issue, on a proactive basis, on behalf of either side so that they are able to avoid any brickbats from the moral brigade and at the same time take credit from the liberal community including the “affected” party by making it seem that they have allowed the smooth passage of the judgment.
Now there is another PIL being filed against Gay rights and same sex marriage by an NGO and the Directorate of Child Welfare. Their plea is that allowing same sex marriage would be creating a bad example for children because it is possible that in some homes a parent may want to live with a person of the same-sex! Two questions:
- Are we saying that it is better to let a man or a woman to continue to live in a manner that is not in tune with natural desires? Will that not create enough tension to affect the child?
- And in that case what about divorce? Should divorce also not be made illegal then? Does an unhappy marriage marred with constant quibbles and fights not affect the child?
I think, in India we have far greater issues on which one should focus their energies – education, rights of the girl child, over population, corruption, discipline and many more – than to be worried about the fallout of same sex marriage.
What is your take on Gay Rights
What do you think? Which side of the fence are you sitting on? I'd now like you to share your views on this complex issue of gay rights, the LGBT movement and same sex marriage.