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Religions unite against ruling

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By CITHARA PAUL in Delhi
  • Published 2.07.09
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New Delhi, July 2: By decriminalising gay sex among consenting adults, Delhi High Court today achieved a rare feat — that of uniting the various religious groups in the country.

From the Jamaat Islami to the Arya Samaj to the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC), religious bodies joined forces to criticise the verdict. The Catholic Bishops Conference of India said the Church was not against decriminalising homosexuality, but opposed what it feared were moves to legalise gay marriages and same-sex relationships.

These organisations threatened to move the Supreme Court if the government didn’t, and would not rule out a joint court petition by all religious groups.

The Hindu groups claimed homosexuality was against Indian culture; Muslim clerics saw it as “against God” and Islam; Christian leaders said gay sex was against both God and Indian culture, and the Sikh clergy dubbed it “against nature”.

“Gay sex is against Indian culture,” said Arya Samaj priest Umesh Tripathi. He added that homosexuality was a social evil that would lead to “sexual anarchy”, social disintegration and break-up of the family.

Maulana Abdul Khaleeq Madrasi, pro-vice-chancellor of the Darul Uloom Deoband, India’s biggest Islamic seminary, said homosexuality was “against the Shariat’’.

Hameed Moulana of the Muslim India Foundation said gay sex was unnatural and went against God’s will. Kamal Farooqi of the All-India Muslim Personal Law Board added a political angle: “The move to legalise gay sex is part of Americanising the country. It’s a totally western concept.”

SGPC member Paramjeet Singh said: “This verdict is against the law of nature.”

Speaking for the Catholic Bishops Conference of India, Father Babu Joseph said: “Gay relations or gay marriages (are) both against God and society. But we do not want to treat homosexuality as a criminal offence. We want the government to amend the laws and bring about prohibitive measures. The government must ensure that homosexuality is not endorsed openly.”

Jamaluddeen Farooqie of the Jamiat Ulema-i-Hind said all religious leaders were waiting to see how the government responded. “If it does not act as expected, we will go to the Supreme Court with other like-minded people.”

Father Dimello of the Church of South India echoed him: “If the government does not act accordingly, the Church, with other like-minded groups, will go to court against the ruling.”