While the week’s been pretty uneventful for Gaysis, something big happened internationally. The world now has its first openly gay & married head of government. Iceland’s Prime Minister Johanna Sigurdardottir didn’t wait too long after the homosexual marriages became legal in the country to get hitched. While civil unions for homosexual couples were introduced in 2002, it was only on the 27th of June, 2010 that the legislation allowing same sex couples to wed came into effect, following a unanimous decision by the Althing (the country’s parliament) on the 12th of June.
Sigurdardottir, who has been in office since February 2009, entered into a civil union with Jonina Leosdottir, a writer with whom she has been living for many years, in 2002 and subsequent to the coming into effect of the enabling legislation, the couple presented a petition to convert their union into marriage.
Back home, a lesbian couple has moved the Delhi High Court seeking protection & the freedom to live their lives as per their choice under Article 21 of the Constitution of India. Article 21 states: “No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to procedure established by law.”The petitioners claim that since homosexuality is no longer an offence under Indian law, they are well within their rights as enshrined under the Constitution to live together and continue their relationship.
When the couple began living together, they faced severe opposition from their families who then approached the police in order to force the women to return to their respective homes. They further allege that they have been insulted and harassed by the police including being spoken to and addressed in a derogatory fashion and being threatened with being implicated in a case under The Immoral Traffic Prevention Act. The petition also makes reference to the fact that the police continues to visit their flat at all hours of the day and night, due to which their neighbours have also become hostile towards them.
The High Court remarked “The criminalisation of homosexuality condemns in perpetuity a sizable section of the society and forces them to live their lives in the shadow of harassment, exploitation, humiliation and cruel and degrading treatment at the hands of the law enforcement machinery” and has issued a notice to the girls’ families warning them from continuing such behaviour and asked the Lodhi Colony Police to investigate the matter and submit a report by the 17th of July. Notice of the same has also been forwarded to the Government.