Saturday, August 1, 2009

Debate of the Week (DOTW) - 30 th July 2009

With the recent ruling of the Delhi's high court on July 2nd, 2009 to decriminalize homosexuality, the issue of the fight for civil rights for homosexuals has come to the forefront of the news in India. The Naz Foundation was the organization that filed a petition in 2001 to challenge the section of the Indian Penal Code 377 that criminalized "unnatural acts" and included mention of homosexuality alongside bestiality and coercion of a minor into sex. Being established in 1860 by Lord Macaulay, it was a product of its times where Victorian social mores prevailed.

To quote the ruling of the panel, "It cannot be forgotten that discrimination is antithesis of equality and that it is the recognition of equality which will foster the dignity of every individual." Thus, they believed it interfered with the respect they should have as individuals and made them face extreme prejudice in society.

This ruling was integral to many interest groups because of the harassment received for trying to distribute medication and try to treat people for HIV/AIDS for those highly at risk. Gay people tend to be higher at risk for this disease, and it was a major win for them to be able to do their jobs without fear of intimidation of themselves and their patients.

In the U.S., laws criminalizing sodomy were still in the law in 14 states and Puerto Rico, until 2003's Supreme Court decision of Lawrence vs. Texas that deemed this ruling violated the equal protection clause and the right of privacy. It was only in the early part of this decade where the UK addressed the issue of financial rights for partners in 2002. Ontario was the first province to legalize same sex marriage in Canada in 2003 with Canada being the 4th country to allow it in the world in 2005 with a handful of Scandinavian countries for the most part.

For those on the other side, they believe that it is leading people astray and is a perversion of natural nature. Many religious leaders have stated that the advance of rights for gay people hurt society as a whole. They believe it is disrupting society and causing disarray of values of the traditional family. To those that are older, it is an unfamiliar thing and a concept alien to them. So I guess this is a bit of history of where the issues stands as some are hostile to it because they are afraid and fear more openness and awareness of gays in society and culture because they feel it threatens their way of life and their worldview.

Thusly, I shall like to ask a few questions:

What do you think of the recent ruling and advancements of the LGBT community and how do you think this impacts you and perhaps your own peers and neighbors?

Is recognition alone enough or do legal rights of partners need to be granted and how should this be done? Do you think legal recognitions alone enough or should the process be started in the legislature/parliament? i.e. Several countries have travel bans for people with AIDS.

Despite legal protections, do you think the attitudes and the systematic discrimination will ever go away? And have you seen attitudes of people you know change or remain consistent on the issue and how?

And are marriage rights necessary? Some believe it is against their beliefs and way of life. So should it just be a system of civil unions that do allow for some financial benefits due to legal recognition or should it be marriage due to inherent advantages that brings in terms of taxes and the status symbol it is in society?

*Feel free to make this more personal to you if you want. And these questions are more to guide you can choose to do this how you want to.
LOL, I have a feeling the Canadians can answer, "Well, it doesn't apply to us, but still do try to answer."

Please post your views !!!!

Author of the post - Nimmi aka dizzyonlemonade

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