Saturday, July 19, 2014

Please protect pink people (pronto)!!!

We were not overtly fond of the past Congress-UPA regime but there was one bright spot. The govt had taken the courageous stand of supporting gay rights and against the Supreme Court order criminalizing gay lifestyle (and canceling out the progressive decision by the Delhi High Court). Since BJP was in the opposition it had the luxury of side-stepping a bed of thorns (on a point which would affect religious conservatives).

Now that BJP-NDA is in power and they have absolute majority the time for prevarications are over. There is no opportunity to hide behind coalition partners (as the Congress often did, especially with the Women in Parliament Reservations Bill). We understand that people  who have voted in favor of BJP (not including ourselves) were in part motivated by the fact that it will take bold decisions for the long-term benefit of society (even if they prove to be unpopular in the short run).

The good news is that the Health Minister Shri Harsh Vardhan (who is an actual medical doctor) has announced that the human rights of gays must be protected. Now his party needs to translate his words into action and pass a gay rights bill in the parliament.
Health Minister Harsh Vardhan today batted for "human rights" of gays and said it was the government's job to protect their rights. "Everybody, including gays, has human rights. It is the job of the government to protect their rights," he said on the sidelines of an event.

He, however, declined to make further comments when asked to explain his position as his party, BJP, had supported the Supreme Court judgment which had upheld the validity of Section 377 of IPC, criminalising sex among homosexuals.

BJP, which was in opposition when the Supreme Court judgement came last year, had said it was for the government to decide the next course of action over the matter, and the party would take a position depending on the official move.

The SC is at present hearing a curative petition on the matter.
Senior BJP leaders have spoken in different voices over the issue and then party President and present Home Minister Rajnath Singh had termed gay sex "unnatural."


Another senior leader and present Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had taken a more liberal position, saying he tended to agree more with the Delhi High Court order decriminalising gay sex, which was later overturned by the apex court.




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