Rationale of same sex marriage

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Rationale of same sex marriage

Friday, 17 March 2023 | Prafull Goradia

Rationale of same sex marriage

These marriages could have far-reaching consequences for the society, especially on the upbringing of the kids born to such couples

The author of this piece has a far-flung extended family in Canada. Years ago, their daughter ‘married’ a girl of Chinese origin. They lived together happily, and still continue to do so. Although the Chinese partner met a white man at work in her office; they happened to get sexually attracted and produce two children who were brought up in that same-sex home. Subsequently, the same mother met another white man at work and produced another child. So now, the five of them stay together, schooling et al included. Does same-sex marriage, therefore, make any sense?

Marriage is defined as a union whereby men and women are joined in a special kind of social and legal dependence for the purpose of founding and maintaining a family. If it is found that two members of the same gender do not wish to marry in the normal way, but wish to be bound together for life, for succession of property and other rights, there may be another law and another name for the combination. This is necessary so that there is no confusion regarding marriage, which willy-nilly implies founding a family with children.

In Gujarat, there was an institution called "maîtree karar" (and it probably still exists), which was innovated by a distinguished lawyer Mahendra Vyas. This was meant to accommodate a second lady, who would not be a wife, but would be entitled to inheritance rights. A number of couples in Gujarat have found "maîtree karar" useful; no one has confused it with marriage. The children born of such an arrangement are considered legitimate in society, although their position under the law remains doubtful.

To highlight a fundamental point, same-sex cohabitation has not been envisaged by nature. Most societies looked upon this idea as a virtual crime. Imagine a person using his kidneys to digest food. The expression ‘unnatural’ is gentle, but it actually implies a crime against nature. Beyond this belief, same-sex combination is nothing short of legitimizing, if not encouraging, homosexuality and further encouraging childlessness. This means further encouraging the depopulation of a society. Without playing mischief with nature, it is estimated that in the course of a hundred years, there may not be any people left in Japan; its birth rate is not keeping pace with its death rate, although many Japanese live well beyond a hundred. But merely because India has lately experienced an increase in population does not mean that such fecundity is a permanent feature of any civilization.

In this ongoing debate, the Center has opposed any move to accord legal sanction to same sex marriages in India. Decriminalization of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code does not automatically translate into a fundamental right for same sex couples to marry, the Center’s counsel has said to the Delhi High Court in an affidavit. The Center has cited the Supreme Court’s earlier ruling, which has granted same sex couples the freedom to lead a dignified private life, but allows them only the "basic right to companionship so long as such companionship is consensual, free from the vice of deceit, force, or coercion, and does not result in the violation of fundamental rights of others".

Around the world, a large body of growing scientific and sociological evidence points to the fact that an intact, naturally married family is best for the upbringing of children, and indeed indispensable. Only a biological family can ensure that children have access to the time and money of two adults, the mother and father. And only a proper family can provide a system of checks and balances that makes quality parenting possible. The indispensability of the biological connection to the child that both parents can provide increases the likelihood that the parents will identify with the child and be willing to sacrifice for that child. Homosexual couples, on the other hand, can only create a situation where their supposed children will have to miss either a mother or father.

If same-sex civil marriage becomes common, most same-sex couples with children would be lesbian couples. This would mean that we would have yet more children being raised apart from their fathers. Among other things, it has been found that fathers excel in reducing antisocial behavior and delinquency in boys and sexual activity in girls.

Under the pretext of modernization, with new legislation like legalizing homosexuality, let us not jettison the natural joy of producing and raising children, then hoping they would grow up and help take care of their parents in the latter’s old age. This has been the pattern for centuries, especially in Asian societies. A visit to Europe would enable one to meet many single parents as well as their children. In the bigger cities on the continent, I have been to, I have been told that only about 20 percent of the people marry conventionally. The rest live together and occasionally produce children. In the event of a separation, children normally go with the mother. Several mothers in Germany have said that their children were irresponsible and non-committal towards society. I do not know how homosexuals feel and therefore will not comment on this. The point is that we need to think a lot more about various aspects of life, collective as well as individual, before legislating on same-sex marriage. We should not imitate the West, since conditions in Asia are very different.

(The writer is a well-known columnist, an author and a former member of the Rajya Sabha. The views expressed are personal)

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