Don't decriminalise homosexuality: Religious leaders

Published: 20 December, 2013 08:32 IST | IANS |

In a rare show of unity, several religious leaders said here Thursday that political parties in favour of decriminalising same gender consensual sexual relationships should not take any step that threatens Indian culture and society

A few Hindu, Muslim, Sikh and Christian leaders said at a conference here that homosexuality not only prevents the evolution process of humans but also destroys the family system and social relationships.

"Lovers of western culture, in the name of freedom and minority rights, want homosexuality to be decriminalised. This is illogical," said Syed Jalaluddin Umari, national president of Jamaat-e-Islami Hind.

Dominic Emmanuel of the Catholic Archdiocese of Delhi said encouraging homosexuality would result in the spread of HIV/AIDS.

"Gay sex is a danger to public health as medical research has found it as a basic reason for the spread of HIV/AIDS," Emmanuel said.

Overturning a 2009 Delhi High Court judgment decriminalising homosexuality, the Supreme Court Dec 11 upheld Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code which classifies gay sex as a crime. However, the court left it to parliament to amend the section if needed.

The union government has expressed "deep disappointment" over the verdict and said it was considering all options to restore the Delhi High Court order.

"We want the government and all parties to accept the Supreme Court's decision. We will never accept any amendments if they do it ignoring religious teachings, eastern culture and opinion of the overwhelming majority of the people," said Ranjit Singh, chief priest of Gurdwara Bangla Sahib.

Omkar Anand of Omkar Dham Ashram was of the view that early marriage could prevent people from straying.

"If the law allows youngsters to get married in their teens and in turn get sexually satisfied they won't stray," he said.

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