Punjab sees first same-sex ‘marriage’, celebs and LGBTQ activists rejoice
Manjit Kaur, a warden for the state government, had a religious ceremony with another woman. Though the ‘wedding’ has no legal sanction, the symbolism is praised by names like actor Swara Bhaskar and filmmaker Onir.bollywood Updated: Apr 29, 2017 18:25 IST
The same-sex ‘wedding’ of Manjit Kaur, a warden for the Punjab state government, and a 27-year-old woman who was reportedly her girlfriend is possibly a first in the state, and one of the very, very few such ceremonies to have got social acceptance in this country.
The video and pictures of the ceremony on April 22 went viral, and people applauded the families of the two, who are seen enjoying the shaadi with much dhoom-dhaam.
Positive messages have come not just from the LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgenders and queer) community, but also from celebrities, who have hailed the two for taking the step despite Section 377, the section in the Indian Penal Code (IPC) that criminalises a sexual relationship “against the order of nature”.
- Section 377 of IPC came into force in 1862, and it defines unnatural offences: “Whoever voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal, shall be punished with imprisonment for life, or with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to 10 years, and shall also be liable to fine.”
Mohnish Malhotra, gay rights activist and an organiser of the Delhi Queer Pride Parade, says, “The community is growing out of the fear of Section 377. People are making choices based on what they deem fit for themselves. This event is proof that if you want to change the attitude on the subject, it won’t happen through major events but through the small things.”
Laxmi Narayan Tripathi is a transgender activist who wrote a book titled I, Eunuch: Me Hijra, Me Laxmi, on her experiences as a transgender. Expressing her support for the reported wedding, she says, “Love is between two people. Love can’t be restricted and put into limits. It is a personal choice.”
Bollywood celebrities are also upbeat about it.
Actor Swara Bhaskar had earlier supported the LGBTQ community by slamming the controversial Article 377 through her tweet. She says, “I think it’s a great step. Section 377 of IPC is a shameful colonial and Victorian era hangover in our penal code and it should go... I have not heard about this [wedding] story, but if this is true, that’s fantastic. I think ‘live and let live’ is a good principle to go by in matters of sexuality, which is a personal choice.”
Onir, the director who is known for his films such as Chauranga and Bas Ek Pal, is openly gay. He says, “I feel that we all should support the [Punjab] couple. What is anybody’s problem if people from the same sex get married? They love each other and want to spend their life together. It’s their decision and a personal matter. We should accept it with open arms.”
Actor Anushka Manchanda was filmed in a video showing a same-sex couple making love. She says, “Love is not restricted to gender. If adults want to be together and they are not harming anyone, then what is the problem? People already do a lot of stuff to harm others; at least [the couple is] not doing that. If they are two consenting adults and it’s their life, it should not be a problem for others. Vaise hi duniya itni f***ed up hai. We need more love and this is a welcome step.”