The Role of Law in Changing Perspectives towards Homosexuality “If there is one constitutional tenet that can be said to be underlying theme of the Indian Constitution, it is that of Inclusiveness. This Court believes that Indian Constitution reflects this value deeply Ingrained In Indian society, nurtured over several generations.
Those perceived by the majority as deviants or different are not on that score excluded or ostracizes. “59 With this ratio, the Delhi High Court on 2nd July, 2009 legalized consensual sexual Intercourse between persons of the same sex y amending section 377 of the Indian Penal Code to exclude these acts. The underlying principle was that of Inclusively and Inconclusive proof as to the harm that might arise from accepting this alternate sexuality.
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This paper, thus explores two research questions: 1) To retrace the events leading up to the Judgment to understand the movement which is in itself, a reflection of the changing perception of society towards homosexuals, 2) To gauge the immediate and subsequent impact of the judgment till date. Retracing the events leading to the historic judgment While the law may not in itself generate homophobia, its very existence moulds beliefs and attitudes, and drives the demeaning and abusive treatment meted to sexual minorities and those who work with them. 1 Section 377 has been used as a threat to harass, blackmail and assault these sexual minorities. In 1994, the arrest of men in a Delhi park on suspicion of homosexual inclinations led the non- governmental group AIDS Behaved Overdid Nodal to organize the first ever march demanding gay rights and file a case in the Delhi High Court challenging the constitutional validity of Section 377. The case was dismissed due to absence of lawyers. The organization also released a report, “Less than Gay’ which was one of the first documents to explore the violence faced by sexuality minorities. 2 Then in 2001 , activists from Boards Trust and Anza Foundation International were accused of running a gay sex club, though they were only working to distribute condoms and educational pamphlets to gay men. A Joint statement was issued by the foundation after this incident highlighting the lack of essential healthcare facilities available to MAIMS from the government: “Clearly it Is difficult for MS to access the precious ewe health services that are sensitive or specific to their needs, let alone official health agencies with the fear of being prosecuted and stigmatize… T Is necessary to point out that many MS also have sex with women and that a majority of them are married. This possibly exposes their wives and children to the risk of Infection. What affects MS, affects everybody. “64 Both these Incidents show that the mere existence of S 377 adds a certain criminality to the dally lives of homosexual men and puts them under the gaze of the law and a constant threat of moral terrorism. 5 The Foundation thus Joined with Lawyers Collective, a legal lad group and petitioned In private same-sex consensual sex between adults.
The petition was filed on the grounds that it infringed Article 14, 15, 19 and 21 of the Constitution. 67 To make the case stronger, various Nags working for the cause of homosexuals and other personally aggrieved individuals were brought before the court to testify. Large scale support was garnered; Martyr Seen, Soil Scrabble and 126 other academics, authors, public workers and other personalities wrote an open letter to the government of India demanding equal rights for the gay community as it was their basic human right and in consonance with the Constitution of the country.
Six Indian cities witnessed coordinated pride parades. No groups protested against the parade and the Prime Minister, Mr.. Nonhuman Sings called for greater tolerance towards homosexuals. Amidst the growing support for the community, the Judgment was the final straw to liberty. The Aftermath The roads were filled with an exulted crowd. The Anza Foundation was declared to have the potential to be a case whose name would conjure up in the history of a reticular struggle, celebrate the victory of a moment and inaugurate new hopes for the future. 8 It proved that public morality and majority opinion must be subservient to constitutional morality and protection of citizens. It gave the gay community self confidence, knowing that their identity wasn’t an illegality. The Constitution had protected them from harassment and assault; the perpetual element of criminality and fear was gone from their lives. Not everyone, however, took the decision in the same stride. Press statements were released calling it an attempt to break the ‘social baric’69, diminish our rich culture and family values, and a curable mental illness. 1 15 Special Leave Petitions were filed in the Supreme Court against the Judgment. This showed that despite the law accepting their sexuality, attitudes in society were still a long way from tolerance, if not acceptance. Our belief in a set culture and tradition is so thoroughly embedded, that change towards betterment is in a perpetual duel with narrow interpretations of this defined ‘culture’. Charlatan Nehru once said that Culture is the widening of the mind and of the spirit.
It is never a rowing of the mind or a restriction of the human spirit or of the country’s spirit. 72 It is this open mindedness that we lack. Four years later, changes have been noticed. Sexual harassment has not stopped, but reduced. Television shows and movies featuring homosexuals have spread awareness and removed the dark tabooed curtains that were drawn against this community, pretending their non existence. If not their embracement by all, the acceptance of their existence is a step in the right direction.
Familial acceptance is essential since the knowledge that society may Gerard their relationships can be very difficult for homosexuals who are trying to accept their own sexuality. 73 The Judgment seems to have made little or no impact with this regard since even the most liberal of all feel the pressures of societal acceptance with a homosexual in relations. Acceptance of one’s own gay daughter is precedent to acceptance of another’s, else it is never true acceptance; only a fade. But proper status in society is yet to be achieved.
It is still to be understood, that they are not abnormal or ill, only different. Faculty describes the situation well: “… F you are not like everybody else, then you are abnormal, if you are abnormal, then you are sick. These three categories, not being like everybody else, not being normal and being sick are in fact very different but have been reduced to the same thing. “74 Bibliography 1 . Books Sherry Joseph, Social Work Practice and Men who have Sex with Men Ravine Marin and Augusta Ban, Because I have a Voice: Queer Politics in India 2.