Thursday 9 July 2009

AKAL TAKHT BARS GAY MARRIAGES IN GURDWARAS


Akal Takht bars gay marriages in gurdwaras
AMRITSAR: Even as Amrit and Jeeta — possibly the first gay couple in India to marry after the Delhi High Court read down section 377 that penalizes
sex between homosexuals —spent a day in marital bliss, an uncomfortable and angry Sikh clergy issued directions to all gurdwara management committees of the world to not solemnize such unions ‘‘as it is against Gurmat and has no place in Sikhism.’’ The censure came after a meeting at the Akal Takht secretariat on Wednesday of Sikh high priests, among them the jathedar of Akal Takht, Giani Gurbachan Singh, jathedar of Takht Damdama Sahib, Giani Balwant Singh Nandgarh, and Jathedar of Takht Kesgarh Sahib, Giani Tarlochan Singh. “Gay marriages are not acceptable in Sikhism and have no place in Gurmat,” said Gurbachan Singh, adding that the five Sikh high priests have issued strict directions to all gurdwaras across the globe to abide by the diktat. ‘‘The heads of other religions and faiths also have a similar opinion on gay relations,’’ he said, finding brotherhood in the group of enraged Hindu, Christian and Muslim leaders who have condemned the court’s rethink on the anti-gay section of IPC. Harnam Singh Khalsa, head of Damdami Taksal, too, echoed the anti-homosexual chorus, protesting India’s inclusion in the list of 150 countries, including South Africa, China, Nepal, Australia, Canada and Argentina, where homosexuality is legal. ‘‘Gay marriages,’’ he said, ‘‘are not acceptable and we strongly oppose it. We may even begin an agitation against such relations.’’ Going a step further, Sikh seminary Damdami Taksal has asked the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) and the state government to take legal steps that would prevent gay marriages in the state ‘‘which would only lead to moral degradation in society.’’

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