Author: Ruth Vanita
ISBN/UPC (if available): 9780144000593
Why should the state’s refusal to recognize a union as marriage mean that the union is not a marriage? In Love’s Rite Ruth Vanita asks this challenging question in order to emphasize that mutual consent and family and community recognition validate a marriage—and this support frequently extends to same-sex marriages as well. When people claim the right to marry, their sex or sexuality is not intrinsic to that right, although social prejudice makes it appear so.
Moreover, it cannot be denied that a multitude of events and depictions in vastly different cultures, times and places, all point to the possibility of same-sex love and commitment being recognized and accepted. Marriage is a universal rite of passage that can, in the right circumstances, become ‘the perfect ceremony of love’s rite’.
Vanita examines the twin phenomena of same-sex weddings and same-sex joint suicides (mostly female) that have been reported from many parts of India. She argues that these couples, when they choose to marry or die together, invoke long-standing but fluid Indian legal, religious, and literary-cinematic traditions to declare their love to the world.
Using her intimate knowledge of ancient Indian textual history, the author demonstrates that same-sex love and relationships are deeply rooted in Indian culture— and compares the cultural and legal implications of same-sex marriage in India with those in the West.
The international debate on same-sex marriage is relevant to all democratic societies today. Ruth Vanita brings a fresh perspective to this debate, suggesting that same-sex marriage dwells at the heart, not on the margins, of culture.
‘An effortless combination of empathy, moral conviction and deep cultural sensitivity’
— Ashis Nandy
‘Ruth Vanita switches context effortlessly between India and the West, ancient cultural perspectives and modern, offering the reader an empathetic understanding of different aspects of the issue with a historical perspective drawn from literary sources’
— Deccan Herald
‘(This) absorbing new book shows how subtly and imaginatively Indian attitudes toward same-sex unions have evolved over the centuries…and offers a marvelously global perspective characterized by profound historical understanding, impeccable scholarship, and a rare and delightful precision of feeling.’
— Terry Castle, Professor at Stanford University, editor of The Literature of Lesbianism.