‘Now it is evident that no one is justi ed before God by the law.’ -Galatians 3:11
I often encounter a strange couple in the shop down the street on my way back from work. Of the two, one is slightly taller than the other. The shorter one always wears a colourful shirt with jeans, uses bright lipstick and carries a handbag. For all intents and purposes, they look like a newly married couple, except that they belong to the same gender.
For many of us, acceptance of a third order of people is difficult especially since we are still ignorant of the causes that lead to a different orientation in people. Many questions come up in our minds. Are people born like this? Or is this the psychological impact of the circumstances of their lives? Is this a perversion belonging to the category of other sexual perversions? These are largely unanswered even now. But the world is moving on to an attitude of liberal acceptance and the recent verdict of the Supreme Court decriminalizing these relationships indicates that India is falling in with global trends on this issue.
There is a lot to be said in terms of justifying the court verdict. There is no sense in treating people in this bracket as criminals. They cannot be equated with murderers or thieves. Whatever may be the reason for the difference, it is something they don’t have a control over. From that angle they should not be punished for their deeds. We cannot be judgemental about what we don’t understand fully and the Lord who sent sunshine and rain to all humankind without distinction has certainly not appointed us to throw the first stone on anyone.
But what will be the influence of legalizing unnatural sex on an Indian population which is already struggling hard to hold on to what remains of its cultural moorings? We have always been proud of our belief in the strong link between marriage, love, sex and procreation. As Indians we would still like our children to belong to a stable home created by parents who are committed to their families. The court verdict has officially permitted unnatural sex among consenting adults. This automatically get rid of the idea that sex is an expression of love and this must lead to starting a family within the secure confines of a marriage. It is almost as if the sacred institution of marriage and family has been pulled down from its elevated position, and equated with live-in relationships and even un-natural sexual partners.
St Paul has been very scathing in his attack on those who indulge in unnatural sex. In his first letter to the Romans, he talks of these as ‘degrading passions’ coming from a depraved mind that has given up the pure and holy for what is sinful and evil. Added to that, he has also made a significant remark about homosexuality –‘Men committed shameless acts with men and received in their own persons the penalty for their error.’1Romans 1:27. To my mind, this has a prophetic under- tone to it. The fatal and dreaded sexually transmitted disease AIDS that has infected so many in our society, is widespread among homosexual groups.
One can expect that the demand to legalize gay marriages will follow closely at the heels of this legal allowance. Same sex couples are denied of many rights in countries like India where legalization has not yet happened. While it will make life even better for this community, one can hardly help being skeptical about the children they may choose to adopt. What would be the psychological impact of growing with same sex parents? The possibilities are frightening!
Legalizing LGBTQ relationships may seem just and fair to a section of the population that come under the rainbow banner. But it will certainly have its detrimental effects on teenagers and young adults who are now legally free to add variety to consensual relationships. This legal decree goes against nature and religion, from where we derive our moral standards, and could also indirectly affect the physical and psychological health of the community at large. The winds of change are whistling around us, and it makes sense to fall in line with global trends. But there are times when we, as Indians should take a rm stand. The world has recognized the benefits of Indian parent- ing, Indian medicine and Indian values. Let us persevere in our fight to preserve the institutions of marriage and family that seem to be severely threatened in times like these.