What’s the Latest Development?
The Madras High Court in New Delhi, India, has ruled that consensual sex is tantamount to marriage since it legally binds the couple to the all the responsibilities that come with marriage. “Any couple who choose to consummate their sexual cravings, then that act becomes a total commitment with adherence to all consequences that may follow,” said the Court’s ruling. While the wording of the decision seems bold, its spirit actually upheld the ruling of a lower court, which obligated a man to pay child support to his live-in girlfriend who had two children by him. The man tried to skirt his responsibilities by claiming the two were never married.
What’s the Big Idea?
The ruling is an example of how India is beginning to cope with the rise of sexual freedom among its youth. Traditionally in India, marriages are arranged by the families of the betrothed, and premarital sex carries a high cultural stigma. But freedom has its limits, and while younger generations are increasingly comfortable with new forms of relationships, social responsibility should not be sacrificed for individualism and hedonism. “For instance, police frequently file rape charges against men who have had consensual sex with their girlfriends—sometimes for years—if they fail to follow through on their promises to get married.”
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