New Delhi: When homosexuality was decriminalized by the Delhi High Court five months ago, the government didn't oppose the decision, winning points for finally recognizing basic rights of sexual preference and identity.
But now, one of the government's own agencies is trying to stop gay couples from adopting children. In a new set of guidelines, the Central Adoption Resource Agency (CARA), which regulates adoptions, says that same sex couples should be banned from adopting.
That's caught the gay and lesbian community off-guard. Once homosexuality was decriminalized, adoption was seen as the next step. Being eliminated purely on the basis of their sexual orientation smacks off homophobia, some say.
"What is wrong with gay people adopting? What are they afraid of? Are they afraid the children will turn gay? Don't they know one cannot turn gay by external influences and that it's inherent? A lot of gay people even without partners would like to adopt so they have a family of their own, "asks Nitin Karani, a gay rights activist.
Harish Iyer, an Events Manager in Mumbai, adds, "One day or the other I see myself settled with or without a guy. But I would definitely like to have a child." Unlikely if the current proposal goes through.
The law may have changed, he says, but clearly attitudes, even among those shaping policy, remain outdated.