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Indo-SL lesbian couple seeking matrimony released

28 Jun 2022

BY Safrah Fazal   A 24-year-old Indian woman and 19-year-old Sri Lankan woman, who were arrested last week for expressing their desire to be married, were released from the custody of the authorities yesterday (27). Sources also clarified that the psychological evaluation ordered by the Akkaraipattu Magistrate was only due to the women having threatened to end their lives in court, and not due to their sexual orientation. Speaking to The Morning yesterday, sources who were present at the court hearing that was held yesterday morning noted that after the two women were ordered to be released, Akkaraipattu Magistrate M.H.M. Hamsa also ordered the Indian woman in question to be returned to her country, while ordering the local to be sent to a safe house so as to ensure her safety from her family and those in the area. Whilst refuting reports that are being widely circulated alleging that the magistrate had ordered a psychiatric evaluation of the two women due to their sexual orientation, the sources reiterated that the couple had threatened to end their lives in court if they were not permitted to marry, which in turn led to the magistrate ordering a psychiatric evaluation as standard procedure in order to ensure their safety.  “The women then underwent a psychiatric evaluation and counselling.” The sources further said that once the psychiatric evaluation was complete and the psychiatrist had confirmed that the women would not cause harm to themselves, the couple were sent to a women’s prison, as the Police Station that is predominantly occupied by men, may not be safe for the two, especially during the night. An activist who is also involved in this case, told The Morning yesterday on the condition of anonymity that the family and community of the local girl are in open objection against the incident.  “In every community, there are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer and questioning (LGBTQ) persons who are silently suffering. Even though the Constitution guarantees that every citizen is equal under the law, a certain section of the population is not considered as citizens.  “They don’t have equal justice under the law and legal system. Most families would behave this way. The Sri Lankan girl’s family are from a marginalised and conservative community. If our legal system does not accept the rights of the LGBTQ community, how can we expect an average civilian to accept this?” Even though Article 12(1) of the Constitution guarantees equal rights and non-discrimination and equal protection of the law, Article 16 allows for laws that violate Fundamental Rights such as Section 365 of the Penal Code which criminalises homosexuality to prevail.  Last week, the Indian woman in question arrived on the island with the desire to meet the Sri Lankan woman with whom she had been maintaining a relationship on social media. The couple then approached the local girl’s father, requesting to be married to each other. The father, who strongly objected to the union, lodged a complaint and handed over the women to the Akkaraipattu Police =====BOX===== If you’re affected by the above content or if you/someone you know may be dealing with a similar situation, the following institutions would assist you:  Ministry of Child Development and Women’s Affairs helpline: 1938 Sri Lanka Police Child and Women Bureau: 011 244 4444 ==================.

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