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  Opinion   Edit  14 Mar 2023  AA Edit | As world changes, let’s be open to same-sex unions

AA Edit | As world changes, let’s be open to same-sex unions

THE ASIAN AGE.
Published : Mar 15, 2023, 12:05 am IST
Updated : Mar 15, 2023, 12:05 am IST

Globally, 133 countries have decriminalised homosexuality in most forms, but only 32 of them recognise same-sex marriage as lawful

This would put the LGBTQIA+ community on a par with everyone else and also take India to the forefront on recognising diversity in society. (Representational Image)
 This would put the LGBTQIA+ community on a par with everyone else and also take India to the forefront on recognising diversity in society. (Representational Image)

Most Indians are still reeling under feelings of pride, nationalism and the delightful secondary glow of global acknowledgement after the “Naatu Naatu” win at the Oscars in Los Angeles, but most of them might have totally missed what it was all about, or by an extension of that logic, what we, as citizens, must be standing for, within the realm of policies.

Just like Chinese movies are stereotypically all and only about martial arts, Indian films for the Western audiences are either a hyperrealistic portrayal of our poverty, squalor and extreme inequality or, in escapist mode, all about family and love. Since sex cannot really be portrayed between lovers onscreen, the actors occasionally break into a song-and-dance sequence as a symbolic alternative.

And what the world really acknowledged and got excited about “Naata Naatu” (and rejected the RRR movie on all other counts for any awards if you noticed) was their misinterpretation of an ersatz homosexual love in the form of a dance of two men. Period!

But that element and its acknowledgment would shock many Indians, including the Indian lawmakers and politicians who are yearning to congratulate the great achievement. And amidst all the focus there, the Supreme Court will have a five-judgment bench to hear a matter on legalising same-sex marriages.

In the case, whose hearings shall start on April 18, the Supreme Court has already asked the Central government to respond on pleas seeking legalising of marriages of the same sex as a logical extension of human and civil rights. The petitioners argue that this will help India become a nation at par with most liberal democracies and also be the conclusion of a social revolution which began with the decriminalising of homosexual unions.

Instead of taking a fundamentally religious view that a marriage can only be between members of the opposite sex, or that religion alone should have a monopoly on defining marriage and its morality, India has a great opportunity to take a secular view that, besides the religiously defined marriages, we can have a secular definition under a separate policy covering same-sex civil unions. These unions could, in turn, include marriage, divorce, adoptions, property sharing, alimony and other issues.

This would put the LGBTQIA+ community on a par with everyone else and also take India to the forefront on recognising diversity in society. Globally, 133 countries have decriminalised homosexuality in most forms, but only 32 of them recognise same-sex marriage as lawful.

Sadly, the Centre, in an affidavit filed before the apex court, has looked upon same-sex marriage as unacceptable, taking a very religious view of the institution, calling it a sacred relationship and a holy union, and a matter of “sanskar” possible only between a biological man and woman.

The government also acknowledged that, beyond law, marriage crucially depends upon custom, rituals and practices based on societal values, and it, therefore, takes a conservative viewpoint seeking no reform.

It is imperative that, even as the Supreme Court reflects on the matter, the citizens must, in the true spirit of “Naatu Naatu”, allow the tango of same genders.

Tags: naatu naatu song, oscars, supreme court