LGBTQ+ activist and “gay prince” Manavendrasinh Gohil has called on the Indian government to legalise same-sex marriage in the country.
Speaking at a press conference in Rajkot, Gohil, known as the “gay prince” due to his royal background, emphasised the need for LGBTQ+ couples to have equal rights and legal recognition.
“We want to be allowed to live and have rights like married couples do in India. That was the purpose of the petition before the Supreme Court,” said Gohil, who belongs to the royal family of the former princely state of Rajpipla.
Gohil added that the Constitution guarantees equal rights to all Indian citizens, and therefore, same-sex couples should have the right to marry just like heterosexual couples.
“If a man and woman have rights to marry, then why not a man and a man? In India, I know 50-odd couples who live together. Society has no problem, but what about their future? What happens if one of them dies?” Gohil asked, highlighting the lack of legal protections for LGBTQ+ couples.
“If you die, your wife gets your pension. She has ways to take care of her livelihood. But in our case, we have no benefits of cohabiting.”
Gohil co-founded the Lakshya Trust, which works on LGBTQ+ issues and opened the first gay ashram in India in Rajpipla. The trust has branches in Rajkot and Vadodara as well. Gohil is also the brand ambassador of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation and works closely with the Gujarat AIDS Control Society to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS.
Legalising same-sex marriage in India would significantly advance LGBTQ+ rights and equality in the world’s largest democracy.
“We hope the government understands our plight and takes appropriate steps to ensure that we are treated equally and with dignity,” Gohil concluded.
Last Updated on Apr 24, 2023