The recent hearing on a petition seeking marriage equality for same-sex couples has been in the limelight, and the mainstream discourse on the rights of the LGBTQIA+ community has been reignited again — thanks to you, this petition and your dichotomous arguments. This letter specifically pertains to a general discursive argument that you made during the High Court hearing on September 14, 2020.
One such argument where you have been quoted by Sofi Ahsan in the Indian Express on September 15, 2020, states:
“The judgment of the Constitution Bench merely decriminalises homosexuality or lesbians. Nothing more, nothing less.“
There are a few aspects that I’d personally like to point out to you, being a responsible citizen of this country and as duty for being a member of the LGBTQIA+ community.
The use of the word “merely” offended me. I never expected our second highest law officer of this country to speak against a public interest issue, even more so after the flagship SC judgement in 2018. It tends to undermine the verdict of the Supreme Court where the when Section 377 was partially struck down from the Indian Penal Code. The highest Court in its final verdict declared the right to sexuality, sexual autonomy and choice of the sexual partner to be a part of the right to life guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution of India. But then, I remembered that you are the one who labelled journalists as prophets of doom by repeatedly deeming their work as full of negativity. You repeated it thrice for dedicated reporting on highlighting the plight of migrant workers across the country or “the migrant crisis”. Rest is understood.
Secondly, I should not hold you accountable for using this phrase “Nothing more, nothing less” in your discriminatory argument as this is quite common in a societal structure deeply rooted with systemic and justified gender-based discrimination throughout its history. The notion of significance/impact around this judgement must be understood in a contextual manner with the kind of prejudice still being perceived by people viewing them as criminals/sick/gross and not much has changed even after definitive legal justice has been achieved.
Finally, FYI, the word homosexuality and lesbian cannot be used with an “or” in between. Homosexuality is a general term for individuals with same-sex attraction, while the term gay (in case of men) and lesbians (in case of women) is used to add a layer of gender while recognising sexual orientation.
I would like to end this letter by wishing you the best for your upcoming hearings on this petition and expecting a more rational and empathetic approach in your arguments while debating on the legalisation of homosexual marriages.
On behalf of the entire queer community, I want to ask, how long will you keep love away from love?