Gay Wedding Puts Spotlight on Indian Laws
Indo-Asian News Service, January 7,
By Frederick Noronha, Indo-Asian News Service
Panaji (IANS)—Days after it took place, a gay
wedding here still has India talking, particularly about laws that do not
recognise marriages between the same sex.
It involved one of India’s most prominent fashion designers Wendell
Rodricks, who hails from Goa, and his French partner Jerome.
The occasion, which has drawn some attention from the international gay
circuit, could embarrass the Indian government into doing a rethink on its
laws that call such a union illegal, many say.
The event made it to the headlines, with various Mumbai-based newspapers
and celebrity writers commenting on it.
365gay.com, an international Web site, reported that the "first gay
civil union ceremony in India has been held under the glare of media
"Gay unions are not only illegal in India, but gay sex is punishable
by imprisonment. The ceremony was conducted by a senior consular official from
the French government."
The Web site said while Indian government officials refused to comment,
"the public act and the publicity that accompanied it puts increased
pressure on the government to strike down the anti-gay laws which date back to
the days of the British empire".
In Goa itself, the event stayed outside media spotlight and newspaper
readers in the small state of 1.35 million were clueless about the
Rodricks said he was not eager about "communicating to any
press". But, he suggested, the news had been met with an
"overwhelming positive reaction".
The caution is understandable. Goa, in spite of its image as a hedonistic
fun centre, is actually a society based on fairly conservative mores.
The ceremony undertaken was not a "wedding" as most media
commentators called it. It was a legal document, called PCAS (Pacte Civil de
Solidarite) that is valid only in France.
The Web site said: "Gay civil unions are legal in France, and since
Jerome is French, the union is considered legal. The couple signed an official
French partnership register flown in for the occasion."
It noted that some of the biggest names in the Indian entertainment
industry were on hand for the ceremony. The duo has spent some 20 years
together, between Paris and Goa, other reports said.
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