The Telegraph of Calcutta, in its issue of May 7, reports
"..A 145-year-old law that bans sex “against the order of nature” has landed the foreign ministry in a quandary. The Canadian high commission has requested Delhi to clear diplomatic spouse privileges for two officials, a man and a woman, each married to a partner of the same sex. Gay marriages, allowed in Canada, are not legally valid in India............Foreign ministry sources said that as Indian law does not recognise same-sex marriages, the Canadian requests cannot be granted.."
It is interesting that Canada should have made this request of India - one must assume that the Canadian authorities would have been aware of the Indian legal position on this issue. The story seems to have been ignored by the Canadian media.
The full report can be read here
The issue goes beyond the posting of the diplomats concerned of course. It is fair to point out that same-sex unions have only been legalised in a handful of countries, and is far from the norm even in Canada's neighbour the United States. The two Canadian officials would probably find it difficult to receive full diplomatic accreditation in many countries.
The broader question is how India's tolerance of public behaviour will keep pace with global norms. Realisation is dawning that globalisation is not just about economic parity but an acceptable common code of behaviour that will straddle a wide range of cultures, morals and religious taboos across both the developed and developing regions.
Just a few days ago, there was the cause celebre of the Richard Gere- Shilpa Shetty kiss, as extensively reported by the world's media, including CNN
The Gere-Shetty Kiss story is far from over. The Jaipur Court's warrant against the offending couple is still in force, and a hearing has been set for May 26. Potentially the couple could be imprisoned under section 294 of the Indian Penal Code.
At least India apparently got through St. Valentine's Day 2007 without the sort of major trouble - destruction of McDonald's oulets, etc. - that reportedly took place in February 2006 !