While the debate over homosexuality in the Supreme Court turned into an absurd confusion on Thursday, gay rights activists in the city said that they were “not surprised by the contradictory statements”.
On Thursday, additional solicitor general PP Malhotra urged the apex court, which is hearing clutch of petitions challenging the Delhi high court order that decriminalised gay sex, to “ban gay sex in the country”. Later, the home ministry retracted saying Malhotra's argument did not reflect the government's stand. “Last year, union health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad made a statement at a seminar implying that homosexuality was a disease and gay sex was unnatural,” said Nitin Karani, gay rights activist and editor at large of Bombay Dost.
“No free country can allow any government to tell us whom should fall in love and live with. The government should consider itself to be safe guardians of all its citizens, and not control us by continuing to talk about our personal choices,” said Deepak Kashyap, a member of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community. He added that by being inconsistent on its stand on homosexuality, the government continued to threaten the community’s individual rights.
Minutes after the initial reports were telecast on news channels, Facebook and Twitter were flooded with updates questioning the government’s “hypocrisy”. “I wasn’t shocked by the initial reports because the government has maintained the same stand for the past four years. The news report affected people who had recently come out of the closet,” said Harish Iyer, a gay rights’ activist.
“Initially, social networking websites such as Facebook and Twitter were abuzz with infuriated reactions from community members,” said Sonal Giani from the Humsafar Trust. “We had to clarify the misquoted remarks to calm them down,” she added.
Sridhar Rangayan, filmmaker and gay rights' activist, said he wasn’t surprised by the government’s stance.
“Since the matter is sub-judice and it has been just four days since the proceedings in the matter started in the apex court, we cannot expect the home ministry to take a stand on the issue,” said Rangayan. "Such complex issues need to clarified with credible sources because of the possible repercussions," he added.