The Supreme Court will start hearing a batch of petitions seeking marriage equality for same-sex couples on April 18
Supporters of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people celebrate the 2018 verdict of the Supreme Court that decriminalized homosexuality for the first time in India. (Photo:IANS/UCAN)
Leaders from India’s major religions have opposed legal recognition of same-sex marriages, citing it being unnatural and anti-religious, as the top court is set to hear a batch of petitions seeking marriage equality for same-sex couples on April 18.
A Christian group called Communion of Churches has written to President Draupadi Murmu, opposing the move to legalize same-sex marriages in India while Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, a Muslim faith group, plans to write to the Supreme Court.
Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist, Jain, and Sikh leaders also have expressed concern over the demand.
“Different societies and faiths may have their perspectives regarding same-sex marriages. According to Church teachings, marriage is always between a man and woman and the Church can’t compromise on it,” Father Felix Jones, who heads the Delhi archdiocesan Commission for Ecumenism and Interfaith Dialogue, told UCA News on April 3.
Father Jones added that “it [same-sex marriage] is immoral, unnatural and unethical.”
Mohammad Salim Engineer, vice president of the Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, told UCA News, “Same-sex marriage is against our civilization and it will have a negative impact in society because marriage is universally accepted between a man and a woman.”
We plan to rope in the All India Muslim Personal Law Board, the apex body of Muslims in India, to approach the Supreme court of India.
Engineer further said that we even opposed decriminalizing gay sex in 2018 by the top court.
Currently, India does not recognize same-sex marriages. However, the Supreme Court in a verdict in September 2018 decriminalized homosexuality between consenting adults.
At least 15 pleas, some by gay couples, have been filed in the Supreme Court to recognize same-sex marriages. The petitioners said that despite the historic verdict in 2018, gay marriages are still not possible in the country.
The Supreme Court, on March 13, transferred the batch of petitions to a constitution bench of five judges who will hear them on April 18.
Earlier, the federal government, led by a pro-Hindu party, also filed an affidavit opposing the legalization, saying same-sex marriages are “wholly unsustainable, untenable and misplaced” and are against the Indian culture.
Goswami Sushil Maharaji, president of the Indian Parliament of Religions, said, “My religion [Hinduism] does not permit to practice or believe in same-sex marriages. So, how we can think of it?”
Singh Sahib Giani Ranjit Singh, head priest of Bangla Sahib Gurudwara in New Delhi said, “We oppose it, it is unthinkable and we don’t practice in our faith [Sikkism].”
Geshe Dorji Damdul, director of Tibet House, the cultural center of His Holiness the Dalai Lama in New Delhi, said, “It is against the universal law and we join others to oppose it.”
Acharaya Vivek Muniraj, a Jain guru, told media persons that Jainism believes that marriage is the foundation for reproduction, which is not possible in a same-sex marriage.
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