By Hilary White
NEW DELHI, May 11, 2007 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The Calcutta Telegraph reports that the Indian government has refused diplomatic status to the same-sex “spouses” of two members of the Canadian diplomatic corps.
Indian culture is very traditional and Indian law retains a strict understanding of marriage being possible only between a man and a woman. While convictions are rare, section 377 of the Indian Penal Code retains provisions against “unnatural sex” and sodomy a charge that carries a possible ten year prison sentence.
The Telegraph quoted unnamed sources in the Indian Ministry of External Affairs who said that the Canadian government had requested an exemption from the law for the man and woman in question. But the Ministry sources said the government has told Canada its diplomats are not exempt from the law of the land in which the diplomat is based.
The 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations prevents any criminal prosecution for the families of diplomats, but with India refusing to recognize homosexual partnerings as equivalent to marriage, it is unclear if the Convention would protect the two.
A spokesman for Canada’s Foreign Affairs Office told LifeSiteNews.com only that the report was “totally inaccurate,” but refused on “privacy” grounds to give any further clarification. The Canadian Press reports the same non-response from Foreign Affairs.
Under Indian law, there is no recognition of same-sex “marriage” or any equivalent civil arrangement. Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin made a visit to India at the height of the same-sex marriage debates in 2005, at which time the Indian Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, responded to questions about Canada’s “same-sex marriage” law saying, “There would not be much appreciation for a law like that in India.”
Only one member of a political party in India, Brinda Karat of the Communist Party of India, has endorsed the legalization of homosexual activity in a 2003 open letter to the then Minister of Law and Justice, Arun Jaitley. Other political parties uniformly view the homosexual anti-family ideology as something that is being imported by foreign interests.
By Hilary White