Lesbian politician embraced at holy Sikh temple during India visit
The openly gay Premier of Ontario has been honoured at a holy Sikh gurdwara in India.
Homosexuality in India was re-criminalised in 2013, when the country’s Supreme Court opted to reinstate a colonial-era sodomy law which bans sex “against the order of nature”.
Amid a battle to quash the ruling, an openly gay Canadian politician this week paid a poignant visit to the country – along with her wife.
Liberal politician Kathleen Wynne – who became the first openly gay head of a Canadian province in 2013 – is visiting along with spouse Jane Rounthwaite.
In a poignant moment, the Toronto Star reports that Ms Wynne visited the holiest Sikh gurdwara, the Golden Temple (Harmandir Sahib) in Punjab.
Despite fears she would be rejected because of her sexuality, the politician was warmly welcomed – and was photographed receiving the ‘siropa’ – a garb given as a form of respect.
She was also pictured helping to prepare meals in the large kitchen which serves 70,000 pilgrims each day.
In Pics| Ontario premier Kathleen Wynne at Golden Temple in Amritsar pic.twitter.com/tUzci5KvJa
— HT Punjab (@HTPunjab) January 31, 2016
Ms Wynne told the newspaper: “People were so gracious and happy to have us there. It was very humbling actually,.
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“I got the ‘siropa’ and we exchanged gifts and it was a lovely experience.”
Despite fears of controversy or a snub, she said homosexuality wasn’t even mentioned during her trip to the gurdwara.
She said: “The head of the temple wanted to talk about one issue.
“You know what it was? Turbans on motorcycles, helmets on motorcycles. He’s going to send me a letter requesting that I consider it.”
Sikhism has no teachings about sexuality, and the religion’s holy book – the Guru Granth Sahib – does not mention homosexuality.
There is not one consistent teaching on LGBT people in modern Sikhism – with some Sikh groups preaching acceptance of everyone, while some others take a more conservative stance.
Sikh gurdwaras do not permit same-sex weddings, however.