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Last week, Mexican Supreme Court rejected a constitutional challenge to legalise same-sex marriage, opening door for issues like allowing  gay adoptions. A few hours before the Mexican ruling, U.S. federal judge in California struck down ‘Prop 8’ as unconstitutional. The ruling is reported to be sent for an appeal and will take its due course in the U.S. Supreme Court.

In South America, Argentina legalised gay marriage recently. Some other countries who have legalised gay marriage are Belgium, Canada, Iceland, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, the Netherlands and South Africa.

It may be debatable as to whether ‘institute of marriage’ is right for gay or same-sex unions and what role should be played by the religious bodies and their leaders. Also, whether all same-sex couples should opt for marriage as opposed to civil union option.  Since ‘Men and women of marriageable age have the right to marry and to found a family’ is a part of the Article 12 of the European Convention on Human Rights, it naturally invites simplistic argument: if the right to marry is denied to two consenting adults who are in their proper frame of mind,  it is only on the basis of their sexual orientation.  A choice of marriage for same-sex partners can clearly demonstrate social and cultural acceptance of the same-sex relations to a greater degree. Allowing a widely acceptable form of relationship can feed into much better social justice and cultural cohesion.

If we have one set of rules because of religious considerations, then there is a need of clear rationale for the basis. Some studies show LGBT people are equally responsible people, if not more, to honour the commitments and responsibilities that a ‘family unit’ can bring. Hence the denial of a marriage option does not go well with our present cultural ethics which are based on beliefs of equality in democratic societies.

There have been countless debates on gay marriage issue for a long time, but last year’s Gay Britain Survey opinion from a younger generation shows a majority acceptance of gay marriage. The view from that side of Atlantic seems to follow a growing norm that should shift wider majority opinion for the support of gay marriage.

– posted by Niranjan Kamatkar

Niranjan Kamatkar is artistic director of GFEST – Gaywise FESTival in London.

WISE THOUGHTS is an arts charity that organises annual GFEST – Gaywise FESTival  in November, across London venues.
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