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Same sex marriages: A crime or a personal choice?
Can you imagine your son, your brother, your sister or your daughter marrying a person of the same sex? It might be tough for many of us, but there is a group of people—in fact a huge group of people who find it as normal.
GAY AND lesbian marriages are becoming a fashion these days in almost every part of the world. The trend has become the talk of the town, be it a developing country or a developed nation, everyone is debating its legalisation, while in some countries it has already been legalised. Some groups are even changing the meaning of the term ‘marriage’, which earlier meant as ‘one man and one woman’ to ‘two persons.’

Homosexuality in India

Though the number of gays and lesbians in India is increasing, still it is considered a social taboo. There is a group of people, who are openly supporting the gay and lesbian rights, while there is another group who see homosexuality as a threat to the society. Apart from these two, there lies a group of people, who are, of course, less in number, and see homosexuality as a personal issue which has nothing to do with the society.

In some parts of India, gay rights are hardly recognized. The gay community is often ignored and despised. This is true even among the educated sections of society. Same sex relationships are viewed as an abnormality at multiple levels – broadly physical and psychological. The general belief is that only a man to woman relationship is normal. Everything else is a mockery of nature and the accepted norms.

Homosexuality is indeed held in deep contempt by a vast majority of Indians. Most men, who are aware of their ’different’ sexual orientation prefer to keep it a secret, for the fear of social condemnation. Having an anti-gay law even worsens the situation, as the law is used by the police to commit institutional abuse in the form of blackmail, extortion and harassment, although such incidents mostly go unreported.

Politicians fear that supporting gay rights could prove to be political suicidal. Such fears are not necessarily unfounded. With rare exceptions in the national press and television, portrayal of gay men and women by the sensationalist media has been hopelessly and stereotypically negative, often equating homosexuality with paedophilia and bestiality – views likely to be shared by the voting population.

Gay sex leading to HIV

A recent report on gay sex has declared that homosexuality could lead to an increase in HIV prevalence. As a large number of gays have multiple partners and low condom use, it could lead to rise in HIV prevalence, said the report -- Redefining AIDS in Asia, crafting an effective response -- compiled by an independent commission on AIDS.

The report said that many men having sex with other men also disguise their sexual preference by having sex with women, who may be their marriage partners or otherwise. It said that almost five million Asians are currently infected with HIV.

In 2007, about 440,000 people were infected with HIV and 300,000 died of AIDS-related diseases. Dr Ruby Bansal, Consultant & Head, Crosslay AIDS & Wellness Programme says, “Among homosexuals, highly risky sexual practices such as anal sex are very common. The majority of homosexual men (60 per cent) engage in anal sex, frequently without condom and even if they know that they are HIV positive. There is a significant increase in the risk of contracting HIV when engaging in anal sex. Young homosexual men aged 15-22, who ever had anal sex had a 4-5 times increased risk of contracting HIV than those who never engaged in anal sex. Hence, HIV infection cannot decrease by legalizing gay marriages.”

The psycho-social aspects

Even today, we need to understand that masses still look down upon the gay relationships as there is very little education on the subject. “One needs to be very clear that marriages came into being for procreation. Gay relations do not fulfill the same criterion. Thus, society outrightly rejects them.

It would be correct to say that overall impact of the gay issue on the "masses is not healthy,” says Dr Ranveer Singh, Clinical Hypnotherapist & Consultant, Delhi Heart & Lung Institute.

Many people see homosexuality as a psychological disorder, but psychologists share a different view. “Being Gay is just a sexual preference, as it is a matter of choice; this is absolutely normal in 99.9 per cent cases apart from those 0.1 per cent cases where sexual preferences are changed or get established because of any behavior altering traumatic event,” says Dr Ranveer.

Dr Sanjay Chugh, Senior Consultant Neuro-Psychiatrist, says, “it (homosexuality) is just about having an alternate sexual orientation which is perfectly normal and alright unless the society pushes people to perceive otherwise.”

Many people around the world are talking about the pros and cons of gay marriages, but have not come to a satisfactory answer whether it is good or bad.

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