MOSC to stand by Apex Court decision on Section 377 of IPC

Ahmedabad: ‘The Synodical Commission for Moral and Ethical issues’ of the Indian Orthodox Church (MOSC) has come up with a draft of its understanding and position on the issue of ‘unnatural offenses’ under Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). Letter
The three-member commission was formed in June last with HG Pulikkottil Dr Geevarghese Mar Yulios, Metropolitan of Ahmedabad Diocese as the Convenor. HG Abraham Mar Epiphanios, Metropolitan of Sultan Battery Diocese, HG Dr Yuhanon Mar Demitrios, Metropolitan of Delhi Diocese, being the other commission members.
The issue relates to same sex marriage and criminalisation of carnal relationship against the order of nature, under Section 377 of IPC.
The section was declared unconstitutional with respect to sex between consenting adults by the High Court of Delhi on July 2, 2009. That judgement was overturned by the Supreme Court on December 11, 2013, with the Court holding that amending or repealing Section 377 should be a matter left to Parliament, not the judiciary.
The Indian Orthodox Church in its four-page response has come out with its own views with regard to the matter on the proposed amendment to the IPC which the Centre wants to be abolished through an amendment.
The Commission members have decided that the Church support and stand by the decision of the Supreme Court and the order and judgement of the Apex Court as guiding factors, till such time the relevant section is suitably amended by Parliament.
The draft clearly states that the integrity and uniqueness of the institution of the marriage between man and woman is the basic social structure of the Society.
The Church stands by the biblical teachings, especially those of the Apostles and early Church fathers since marriage is instituted by the Creator at the beginning of the universe itself.
The Church does not agree with the effect of Section 377 of viewing all gay men as criminals and considers homosexuality, gay marriage and same sex marital relations as sin and therefore neither support nor encourage them.
Further it states that the Section be amended to distinguish between consensual and non-consensual acts and that consensual acts of adults in private should not be criminalised.
The Church has also decided to impart free guidance and counseling and provide medical assistance to refrain the faithful from such perversity.  The Church also treats homosexuality and carnal relationship as unnatural, unethical and advises its believers to adhere to the teachings of the Church.
The draft response was prepared by a Committee comprising of Dr Geevarghese Mar Yulios, Fr Dr Shaji P John and Adv Mathai Mampallil as members. The response draft dated December 23, 2013, was signed by the Ahmedabad Diocese Metropolitan and issued from ‘Gandhi Smriti’, St Thomas Bishop’s House, Ahmedabad.
~ LC

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