"Gays! Out of the Closet – A Secular Solution"
- Same Sex physical relationships may not be perceived as necessary or desirable but they are a fact of Social Life.
- Society must find ways to allow for such relationships without disturbing the Social fabric.
The amended interpretation of article 377, by the Delhi High Court has brought to the fore the issues of Gays and the status of such relationships in an Open, Secular & Democratic Society.
There needs to be a proper understanding of all the issues involved before a balanced view point can be arrived at for an issue with such wide ranging ramifications. To arrive at such an understanding the following points need to be considered.
- Stories of Gay relationships abound from historical times. Such relationships were recorded even amongst those who were not actually Gay, but sought sexual release with others who may or may not have been Gays, especially when strong emotional bonds were formed in circumstances where the opposite sex may not have been available or trusted. During prolonged Military campaigns, in Monasteries / Convents, Prisons and such like environments.
- Scientific studies confirm that Gays are so biased due to genetic causes and have as much ability to correct their predilection as they have of correcting any other genetic factor (colour of eyes or skin and so on).
- Even animals, especially males have been observed to engage in same sex activity as a mark of acceptance of hierarchical status / rapprochement etc.
So perhaps it is not that same sex relationships exist that is the problem, but how it manifests in Society and how it should be dealt with to be accepted openly.
Same sex marriages are strongly objected to by many people and many religious groups from all religions as debasing the very sacrosancy of the concept of marriage in religion.
Religious groups insist on their right to decide for themselves which unions they are willing to recognize with attention to gender, religion, age, gothras, caste and other factors.
But, it is also true that many members of same sex couples want to make a legally recognized lasting commitment to one another.
To respect the liberty of religious groups while protecting individual freedom in general, ‘Thaler & Sunstein’ in their book ‘Nudge’ from which much of this essay is drawn, suggest the privatization of “Marriage”. Under their proposal, the word ‘Marriage’ would no longer be offered or recognized by any level of Government. The State would do its business, while religious groups & organizations would do theirs. This would eliminate the ambiguity created by the fact that the word ‘Marriage’ now refers both to an official (legal) status and to a religious one.
Under the proposed approach, the only legal status the State would confer on couples would be that of a ‘Civil Union’, which could be a domestic partnership agreement / contract between any two people. How they relate to each other within the privacy