India is one of the Asian countries that have been violently opposed to same-sex marriages for many years. This opposition however does not mean that there are no cases of gays and lesbians in the country. The Indian culture has in the past provided room for mistreatment of any person or a group of people that practice same-sex marriage in the country. This is a matter that has seen victims operate in secrecy.
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In any country, a habit gains ground easily if it attracts the support of the government or civil rights groups. In India, however, this is not the case for discussions about same-sex marriages and relationships have been and still are considered taboo by the greater proportion of the Indian population. Same-sex marriage in the country is considered a crime and therefore the government opposes it through the implementation of the various provisions in the legislation that prohibit the practice. This has resulted in widespread homophobia among those involved in same-sex marriages and there have been cases of violent treatment of those who are identified. The determination of the extent to which the mistreatment has been carried out has, however, become a hard nut to crack for it is complicated by the fact that the culture of the Indians does not allow public discussion of any form of sexual behavior let alone homosexuality.
In recent years, however, there has been a shift in attitude towards same-sex marriages and relationships by having discussions of the same carried out in the news and other forms of media in the country. This has been further triggered by the coming into the open of the prominent and popular people in the country to propose and support legislation to legalize same-sex marriages. One such person is Prince Gohil Singh Manvendra who came out openly in 2005 and declared that he was gay. This saw him suffer alienation from his friends and family members. The strictness of the Indian culture was evident when he was disinherited by the royal family as a way of reacting to his declaration. He however reconciled with the family later on. This action has seen, over the past seven years, the rise of several people who, either through certain bodies or as a result of their initiative, have endeavored to defend the rights of those involved in same-sex marriages.
In the year 2009, the approach that had been used in handling same-sex marriages changed after a High Court in Delhi made a ruling that de-criminated section 377 of the constitution which had been used as one that rendered same-sex marriage and/or relationships illegal. The ruling attracted massive celebrations among those that practice same-sex marriage and it resulted in the holding several gay rallies within many cities in India.
It is important to note here that even with the current environment in which those involved in same-sex marriages feel safe, a large percentage of the population in India still upholds the conservative culture and this is a source of risk. This can be addressed when there is sufficient creation of awareness among the Indian population on the importance of respecting other people’s lives and the choices they make in their lives.