The hallmark of a civil society is respecting the otherness of others and accepting the God-given uniqueness of each member of the society. The Supreme Courts decision to uphold the archaic Victorian law from 19th century does not bode well for an India that has been woven with the pluralistic ethos for nearly five millenniums.
Martin Luther King Jr. was right, injustice to one is injustice to all, and I would add, prejudice to one will end up in prejudice for all.
It is incredible that
Australia, another colony of the British Empire has made an identical decision,
on the very same day to uphold the primitive prejudices towards homosexuality.
The basis for this judgment and the conflict stems from Section 377 of Indian Penal code enacted by the British Raj in 1861. It criminalizes sexual activities "against the order of nature", including homosexual acts. In July 2009, the Delhi State High Court rejected the archaic law as unconstitutional in respect to sex between consenting adults. On December 11, 2013, the Supreme Court of India overturned the Delhi High court ruling in a sexually graphic document . However, the matter is left to the legislators (Members of Parliament) to repeal, uphold or modify.
The Legislators simply
cannot wipe out India's heritage found in Kama sutra depictions of Gay and
Lesbian acts on the friezes of Temples in Khajuraho and elsewhere. Its part of
Indian history and part of the culture.
Picture coutesy - Khajuraho Temples
picture courtesy: Times of India
The Bharatiya Janata Party (comparable to GOP) will stick with the Supreme Court's decision to woo the right wing vote. An unusual combination of right wing Hindus, Muslim and Christians have taken a stand against same sex marriage, they want to keep the section 377 intact.
Baba Ramdev is one of the most watched Yoga Gurus on Indian Television, and has endorsed the BJP's Prime Ministerial Candidate Narendra Modi. Even if Modi wants to do the right thing, he is stuck with a fixed-up position by Baba Ramdev who is anti-Gay.
Being a shrewd business
man, Ramdev is offering his Ashram to " cure the curse of homosexuality " just as Marcus
Bachman's (Michelle Bachman's husband) had floated his clinic.
Rahul Gandhi, also the virtual Prime Ministerial candidate from the Congress Party (the likes of Democratic Party) has jumped right in to the fray in defense of the rights of Gay and Lesbian community. Not sure if this is a political move or if he genuinely believes in individual liberty and freedom, but glad to see someone carrying the torch of freedom.
One of the roles of Government is to protect the society at large from crimes of robbing, stealing, lying, rape, incest, child abuse, women abuse, murders, or breaking contracts of marriage, business and not fulfilling the social and legal contracts. There is a punishment meted out for all such violations that affect the individuals emotionally and financially. .
One of the commonest items that surfaces regularly in these discussions is whether Homosexuality is nurtured or is it a part of human nature. Does it matter?
As long as two independent and sane individuals consent to be life partners, and it does not hurt one or the other physically, emotionally and psychologically, and it does not rob anything from any one, they must have the freedom to life, liberty and pursuit of their happiness.
The Government has no business in passing moral judgments on the personal acts between two consenting adults. If the Christians, Hindus, Muslims and others believe that it is immoral and punishable, then they should leave to that to God. Let the issue be between them and God and not the business of religious police, when there is no harm done to any members of the society, there is no crime committed.
Whether one believes in a single God, multiple Gods or no God, it is one's personal faith, and that is strictly between the individual and God and not the civil society.
The right wing Christian
and Muslim clergy justifies the Sodom and Gomorra story and start acting
and judging others, as if they are God or God's appointed Sheriffs. Indeed, the
story does fan the prejudices against fellow beings. Per the scriptures, God
did punish a group of people for their lewdness and the right to punish is the
prerogative of God not humans. Religiously, God has not given the right
to take one's own life or others.
These men deliberately ignore the key commandments of God which requires them to be human, and to be God like; just and merciful above all else.
Every religious or social group has fought against oppression from others, and to defend themselves they needed men (at that time), and the only way to ensure the supply is to instill fear of God to keep the men from becoming gay (as if it is the truth). The argument is based on fear that if all of us become gay, we would not have next generation to defend us. What a poor reasoning to deny other people their God-given right?
Everything God has created is diverse and intentional. We are all part of the greater system that includes the entire range of GLBT and straight men and women, this is indeed the God formula.
The world's most
beautiful lesbian woman does not feel any attraction for the world's handsomest
man on the earth, and vice-versa, instead they feel the attraction in the
person of same sex. Who are we to dictate who one likes, or who falls in
love with whom? One is not gay because it is fashionable; one is gay
because that is how one is inclined.
Let go of ignorance, let us learn to respect the otherness of others and accept who each of us. By giving respect to homosexuals, you are not going to open a flood gate for the world to become gay, others are not going to become gay for the heck of it. It is a very difficult decision for them not to be gay, just as it is difficult for the straight guys to be gays or straight girls to be lesbians. Let us all have the freedom to live as freely as we can. Let's be truthful to ourselves, and let others be truthful to themselves.
Mary Ann Thompson-Frenk, co-founder and president of Memnosyne
Foundation beefs up the need to build a cohesive society with this statement, "
(Let's) pray for the day we will be judged not by our skin color, gender, what
gender we choose to make love to, or how we praise God, but by our integrity
and contribution to our fellow man." Amen to that.
In a democracy everyone has a right to believe and express what he or she believes freely. We need to respect the freedom we have, and do everything to respect others freedom. Our freedom is meaningless and disgustingly selfish, if we don't defend and care for others freedom. In the long term, freedom is good, and all of us would be better off if we stand up for the rights of others.
Mike Ghouse is a speaker, thinker and an author of the upcoming book. Standing up for others, if you don't stand up for others, why should any one stand up for you.