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Britain passes bill legalizing gay marriage: Can India follow suit?
Britain is all set to legalise same-sex marriages after a vote - which exposed the deep divide between Tory 'modernisers' led by Prime Minister David Cameron and the 'old' Tories - that led to the passage of a bill allowing gay couples to marry besides offering them the same legal rights as heterosexuals couples enjoy. This has rejuvenated the gay rights activists across the world, especially in India where the subject is even a taboo to talk about.

In the light of the way things are shaping up internationally, I talked to a few people on the issue and what they feel about the pulse of the hour is that India is still several light years away from developing any legal system for the gay community. All the gay community wants is awareness and sensitization towards lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community in a society, which views homosexuality like a disease which must be cured.

Gay marriages are illegal in India. As for Section 377, it was explained by advocate Imran Ali, who says, “Previously, according to Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, any unnatural sex act was punishable by law. But now it has been ruled by the (Delhi) High Court that if two consensual people are engaging in unnatural sex, then it is no more punishable.”

Ironically, as pointed out by Harish Iyer, a gay rights activist, Section 377 was introduced in India during the British rule, which at that time prohibited 'unnatural sex'. So when asked how he feels about the bill being passed in the UK, he replies, “It is a positive sign as some change is happening in the United Kingdom, which is one of the most conservative countries. I feel that as a country India is not far behind and we are fighting.”

He also pointed out that in India legalities were not the main focus now as sensitization of the society is of paramount importance. He adds, “In an ideal world, two people in love should be able to marry, irrespective of their gender, creed, caste. They should have inheritance law, adoption law and divorce law but reality is different. So our immediate concern is awareness and what I love about this generation is that it is a talking generation.”

Arijit Banerjee, who is an ardent football player, a bisexual and has a steady girlfriend feels that India still needs to grow up and become mature. He believes it is still regressive when it comes to the gay people as he himself has not being able to come out of the closet to his own girlfriend.

He feels that legality is not India's immediate concern but the fact that people should accept gays. Talking about the law, he feels, “A lot of changes have to happen if marriage is legalised in India. A number of other laws such as domestic violence, marital rape have to be revisited. And frankly speaking the society is not ready. Taboos should go away before any law exists.”

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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