Last edited: November 07, 2004

Society’s Not in a Gay Mood

Express India, September 30, 2004

By Dominic Emmanuel, spokesman of the Delhi Catholic Archdiocese

Homosexuality is an unnatural tendency which must be dealt with through compassion and counselling. They must move ahead with the hope of liberating themselves. The Naaz Foundation which had challenged the Constitutional validity of IPC 377 in the Delhi High Court in 2001, received a setback when the High Court rejected its plea two weeks ago. With the way the homosexual community has launched its recent campaign, notwithstanding what the larger society thinks of the issue, the Naaz Foundation is certain to knock the doors of the Supreme Court to redress, what according to them, is a denial of the fundamental right of an individual to choose one’s sexual behaviour.

The IPC Section 377 holds, “Whosoever has carnal intercourse voluntarily against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal shall be punished with imprisonment for life, or imprisonment for a term which may extend to ten years, and shall be liable to fine”. The petition claimed that these unnatural acts were not so unnatural going by the socio-scientific evidence. In a rather hushed tone the PIL adds, “due to fear of police action, consenting adult males having sexual relations were not coming forward to disclose their problems, even though they were more prone to HIV infection”.

There is no evidence to suggest that the HC acted under any societal pressure as the issue of homosexual and lesbian relationships was under the spotlight for weeks following the murder of Pushkin and Kuldeep last month in one of Delhi’s elite colonies. The HC judgment has poured cold water on all the superficial arguments offered in favour of homosexuality and it is surprising to note that very little, if anything was written or discussed in the media on the HC judgement. Society at large has no doubt welcomed the stand of the HC as the government too had argued against the PIL saying, “the society disapproves of such behaviour”.

One of the institutions under attack for opposing homosexuality is the Catholic Church which itself has been facing an embarrassing situation with new revelations of a small number of its priests caught in the mess. Several dioceses in the US have gone bankrupt by paying huge compensations to the victims of child or homosexual abuse. If the Church were “worldly wise”, it would have promoted legalisation of gay marriages or at least closed its eyes to it. But the Church is never for “quick fix” and always weighs its stand in relation to the natural law as ordained by God. As Archbishop Vincent M Concessao of Delhi says, “Just because some people have no problem in killing others or in being corrupt to the core or wishing to legalise sati, should these things be allowed in society and should the Church be criticised for opposing them?”

Those who falsely allege that the Church must stop interfering into what happens in people’s bedrooms, the Pope explains, “Spouses thereby ensure the survival of society and culture, and rightly deserve specific and categorical legal recognition by the state,” and “It is this sublime and fundamental truth concerning the human person — created male and female in the image and likeness of God — which constitutes the immutable basis for all other anthropological truths”.

The psychologist, Sigmund Freud, presented reasons why such tendencies occur in certain individuals and can be changed through sustained counseling. Research also shows that homosexuality is often a temporary phase in many individuals, who, with professional help, get over it. Other times, circumstances land them in situations such as exclusive boarding schools for either only boys or girls. Prison or Army is another place where it is sometimes practised, but the moment these people are free, they come back to their natural behaviour. Psychologists and therapists cite innumerable examples of how the young have been helped to tread the “natural path”.

There is little awareness among the masses, as Naaz concedes too, that homosexual relations are highly vulnerable to the spread of HIV. Even though, reflecting society’s view, HC in its judgement rejected the PIL, nevertheless, the Church extends all understanding and compassion to people with such tendencies saying, “(Homosexuals) must be accepted with respect, compassion and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided (Catechism of the Catholic Church 2357).”

Whatever society understands from HC’s judgment and Church’s stand, persons with such tendencies must move ahead with the hope of liberating themselves someday from the burden they carry deep within.

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