‘SC Verdict on Same Sex Union Takes Us Several Steps Back’
Anjali Gopalan,founder of The Naz Foundation Trust to fight HIV/AIDS and guard the rights of LGBTQIA community, shares her views on SC verdict on same sex marriage.
The divided Supreme Court verdict on same-sex marriage has really been disappointing. This is the time when the courts could have taken the whole issue forward. They could have looked at the issue within the perspective of civil rights. This judgment, unfortunately, takes us 100 steps back.
Now the issue has been left to the Parliament. This is, indeed, highly problematique. So when will the issue be raised in Parliament – we simply don’t know that. Pray, how many issues are discussed in the current Parliament these days? For all we know, Parliament sessions are not held for the entire duration. Hence, this crucial issue going to Parliament remains a question mark.
The other disappointing thing has been the denial of the right to adopt – which should have been given to the LGBTQ community. Anyway, adoption has been made so difficult even for heterosexual couples. There are thousands of orphans in our orphanages. What is wrong if they get a loving and caring couple to take care of them? The thinking is regressive!
The Chief Justice of India is very progressive, but, what has happened to the rest of the judges? The CJI was clearly in the minority. Having said all this, I would say that the debate has expanded the definition of discrimination – which is a good thing. Surely, as per the current law, trans-people can marry other trans-people, meaning, a trans-woman can marry a trans-man. However, a trans-man cannot marry a trans-man.
Surely, homosexuality has been decriminalized in India by law. However, if you look carefully, a large number of fundamental rights are denied to them. You have to look at society and the community. There is deep-rooted prejudice against. This is visible in sphere of employment and work, housing, education, health, among other things. This is a pattern across the country.
Families themselves compel trans-individuals to go for conversion-therapy. They force them to get married and raise a family. They hide their identity.
We are living in a democracy. On what basis can you deny them their rights? The irony is that almost all political parties seem to be on the same page on this issue. Remember, while we were fighting discrimination during the UPA government, the same phenomena prevailed. That is, when it comes to this issue, no one is a holy cow!
(The narrator has set up an animal sanctuary All Creatures Great and Small (ACGS) at Silakhari, Harayana for sick and abandoned animals. She has been a Member of the Animal Welfare Board of India. In 2005, she was short-listed for Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of her work. She has received the Commonwealth Award in 2001 for her work with marginalized communities and the Woman Achiever Award given by the Ministry of Women and Child Development, in 2007)
As told to Amit Sengupta