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As Top Court Case Nears, Hindu Group Slams Western-Pushed 'Gay Marriage' as Ploy to Divide Indians

© AP Photo / Tsering TopgyalPigeons fly past the dome of India's Supreme Court building in New Delhi, India, Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2016.
Pigeons fly past the dome of India's Supreme Court building in New Delhi, India, Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2016. - Sputnik India, 1920, 17.04.2023
On Tuesday, India's Supreme Court will hear a petition filed by two same-sex couples seeking the legal recognition of gay marriage in the country.
Up until September 2018, consensual sex between homosexual adults was illegal in India. Individuals discovered to be engaging in such activities would be punished under Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code.
On 6 September 2018, however, the Supreme Court of India ruled that Section 377 was unconstitutional “in so far as it criminalises consensual sexual conduct between adults of the same sex”.

Is India's Concept of Marriage Under Threat?

On 14 November 2022, two same-sex couples filed petitions with the top court seeking legal recognition of same-sex marriages in India.
One petition was filed by Supriyo Chakraborty and Abhay Dang, while the other was filed by Parth Phiroze Mehrotra and Uday Raj Anand. In their appeals, both of the couples argued that Section 4(c) of the Special Marriage Act, 1954 recognizes marriages only between a male and female and thus discriminates against same-sex couples by denying them matrimonial benefits such as adoption, surrogacy, employment and retirement benefits.
They also urged the top court to declare Section 4(c) of the Act as unconstitutional, insisting that non-recognition of same-sex unions violates one's rights to equality, freedom of expression and dignity. The couples also tagged a number of other petitions challenging other personal laws like the Hindu Marriage Act of 1955 and the Foreign Marriage Act of 1969, on similar grounds.
A Supreme Court bench consisting of Chief Justice of India (CJI) D.Y. Chandrachud and Justice Hima Kohli on 25 November 2022 ordered the federal government to respond to the pleas.
In January this year, senior advocate Menaka Guruswamy and advocate Karuna Nandy requested the bench consisting of CJI and Justice P.S. Narasimha to transfer two similar petitions pending before the Delhi and Kerala High Courts also to the top court. The bench agreed to list the transfer petitions along with the main petition on January 6, 2023.
Nine pending pleas from Delhi and Kerala High Courts dealing with similar issues were transferred to the Supreme Court on 6 January 2023, by a three-judge bench consisting of CJI with Justices P.S. Narasimha and J.B. Pardiwala.

On 12 March, the federal government filed a counter affidavit with the top court opposing same-sex marriages saying that they do not meet the Indian concept of marriage, emphasising that not recognising such unions, in fact, doesn’t violate any fundamental rights.

The following day, the top court referred the matter to the Constitution Bench consisting of CJI and Justices S. K. Kaul, S. Ravindra Bhat, P. S. Narasimha and Hima Kohli stating the matter raised questions of “seminal importance”.

’Marriage Only Between Man and Woman’

Ever since the matter has been referred to the Constitution Bench, prominent Hindu groups have voiced strong opposition to this concept.
Reacting to the federal government’s stance on same-sex marriages, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) on 14 March said that it agreed with the government’s view and claimed that marriages could take place only between persons of the opposite sex.
During an event in Haryana’s Panipat city, RSS General Secretary Dattatreya Hosabale stated that marriage is neither an “instrument for personal, sexual or physical enjoyment” nor a “contract between two persons”.

“Hindu jivan darshan me vivah ek sanskar hai. Saath kisi ke bhi rahna hai, wo alag baat, lekin vivah sirf ek purush aur stri ke beech hi ho sakta hai (In the Hindu way of life, marriage is a virtue. One can live with anyone they like, but marriage can only happen between a man and a woman),” Hosabale stressed.

When speaking to Sputnik, Hindu Sena President Vishnu Gupta said that it seemed that West was trying to impose its values, especially those which are not acceptable to Indian culture and Indian society.

“There has been a major difference between our culture and Western culture. Some Western countries are trying to impose their values on Indian society so that they can succeed in dividing us again. This is very dangerous,” Gupta stated.

He also added that some Western media outlets are also trying to tout controversial issues, which might sow division among the Indian people.
Concurring with the federal government’s stand on same-sex marriages, the Hindu Sena chief said that this concept interferes with India's traditional image of a family union.
“The attempt is to malign the image of India which is the birthplace of Lord Rama, Lord Krishna and many more through such things. Such a concept is also a threat to the mutual respect between a male and a female,” Gupta noted.

Adoption Issues to Emerge if Same-Sex Unions Legalized

Gupta opined that same-sex marriages destroy the concept of society. “Earlier there was a demand to decriminalize Section 377, it was done, but now they are moving one step ahead and insisting on legalizing of same-sex marriage. This will also bring in a lot of problems,” he warned.

“If same-sex marriages are legalized, they will start demanding changes in the laws related to the adoption of babies because same-sex couples won’t be able to have babies naturally. If a child is raised in such a family, it will have a huge psychological impact on him. During his initial days, he might not able to understand things, but as he or she will grow up, the youngster will find it difficult to comprehend the fact that he is the child of a same-sex couple. The child might go into depression and have other mental health related issues.”

Gupta also said that these are some of the reasons why same-sex marriage is frowned upon, and soon Hindu Sena would also file a legal challenge to the case. He also said that the Supreme Court would take into account the social and cultural aspect before announcing its judgment in the case.
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