Catholic Bishop’s Conference of India Council for Laity Response to the Indian Supreme Court “Seeking Opinion to Legalize Same Sex Marriages

On 18April 2023, the Supreme Court started to hear pleas seeking to legally validate same sex marriages.

The main argument for the legalization of homosexual marriage is that homosexuals have the right to build a family and have all the rights of family people. The reason for this argument is that, according to them, many of the rights in India are based on families and family relationships. There are various international groups and agencies to fight for their rights. In order to respond to their arguments, the most important thing is to understand the real meaning of marriage and family. As the Solicitor General Tushar Mehta rightly pointed out in the Supreme Court, “All religions converge, and do not contradict, in their opinion that marriage is at the heart of the foundation of family and society. They believe that children from marriage are sacred gifts of marriage… what is recognized as marriage is a male female union.” Catholic Church also upholds the view that children are the crowning and living reflection of the total mutual self-gift of the spouses. In this mutual giving in the marital act spouses cooperate as servants and not as masters in the work of the Creator who is Love.

If homosexual marriages are legalized, it is going to do injustices to the children, to human nature and to the society.The main demand of homosexual couples is to get a child through artificial techniques. The first injustice of homosexual marriage is done to this artificially made child. The child has the right to be conceived, carried in the womb, brought into the world and brought up within marriage: it is through the secure and recognized relationship to his own parents that the child can discover his own identity and achieve his own proper human development.The future generation should be born and formed through the love of their parents. Father and mother,both in their masculinity and femininity, are needed for the psychological, physical, social and spiritual well-being of the child. The child made through IVF and other artificial reproductive techniques for homosexual people are denied all these rights.

Secondly, the legalization of homosexual marriage is an injustice to the dignity and nature of the human being itself. The existence of human species as male and female, their mutual sexual attraction,their sexual union, procreation, giving birth, nurturing and educating the offspring are part of the nature of human species. Men and women are equal as persons and complementary as male and female. The sexual difference in their body and mind is a biological reality and it cannot be ignored. Disregarding this reality in the same sex union is a threat to the nature and dignity of human beings.

Thirdly, legalization of homosexual marriage is unjust to the family and society. The family based on marriage bond is established for the survival and well-being of the human species. Marriage

became a public contract to ensure the bond and permanency of the union of male and female for the security of children born through their relationship. This permanent marital bond is also essential for the well-being of the society. The common good requires that laws recognize, promote and protect marriage as the basis of the family and family is the primary unit of society.

However, there are also different sexual attractions and orientations in human beings. There are people sexually attracted to the same sex, towards children, towards blood relatives, towards animals, etc. There always existed these different orientations and attractions in human history. They were considered as odd and never attempted to legitimize such relationships. The society should always accept these people and to help them to have a regular life. Accepting and helping them doesn’t mean that their irregular relationship is legitimized.

Though homosexuality is no more a crime in civil law in India (in the IPC) it does not mean that homosexual acts or behaviours are morally acceptable or justified. Not all things that are legal can be considered morally acceptable. The Catholic Church (and many others) holds that homosexual behaviour (between consenting adults) is morally unacceptable because it violates the purpose of human sexuality which is procreation and union of love fulfilled in the loving union of man and woman in marriage. This is the moral stand of the Catholic Church. In the Catholic moral perspective, homosexual acts or behaviours are morally unacceptable.

We must also draw a distinction between homosexuality as an orientation for which one cannot be blamed because of early psychogenetic origin or birth and homosexuality acquired by deliberate choice and practice. While the Church makes it clear that homosexual acts are objectively wrong and morally unacceptable, homosexuality as an orientation is not a sign of perversion but as the expression of a condition, an inversion in a psychological sense. Hence, even though the particular inclination to homosexual acts is disordered, the person retains his or her intrinsic human dignity and value.

The Church respects the dignity of homosexuals (be they men or women) as persons and human rights flowing from human dignity and personhood just as the Church does for all human persons without exclusion or discrimination. Homosexuals are integral members of society. The Church condemns any kind of violence and hatred against them. They must be treated with understanding, compassion and sensitivity. According to the moral vision of the Church those who have a homosexual orientation should not suffer unjust discrimination in law or reality. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided, according to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 2358. Amoris Laetitia No.250 states: “We would like before all else to reaffirm that every person, regardless of sexual orientation, ought to be respected in his or her dignity and treated with consideration, while “every sign of unjust discrimination is to be carefully avoided, particularly any form of aggression and violence.

The Church and all people are concerned about protection and strengthening of the fundamental value of marriage as a union between man woman and family raised by such conjugal union. It is important to uphold the right moral perspectives regarding marriage, family and the upbringing of children. Homosexual acts go against the natural moral law. Homosexual acts close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. In the same way, homosexual unions also totally lack the conjugal dimension, which represents the human and ordered form of sexuality. Homosexual unions also totally lack the biological and anthropological elements of marriage and family which would be the basis, on the level of reason, for granting them

legal recognition. Such unions are not able to contribute in a proper way to the procreation and survival of the human race. Under no circumstances can they be approved. Hence, same sex marriages are not acceptable at all.

Yours faithfully
Bishop George Madathikandathil
Chairman, CBCI Council for Laity

Chevalier Adv V C Sebastian
Secretary, CBCI Council for Laity

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