Ontario premier Kathleen Wynne’s scheduled visit to Amritsar as part of her 10-day business trip to India has landed in controversy even before her arrival.
The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) has decided not to honour the Canadian leader with a siropa (robe of honour) during her visit to the Golden Temple on Sunday. Reason: Wynne, a lesbian, is a supporter of same-sex marriages, a practice opposed by the Akal Takht, the highest temporal seat of the Sikhs.
Last year, a large section of Sikhs staged a protest against her move to introduce sex education curriculum which, according to them, was not age-appropriate and promoted same-sex relationships among school students. Muslims and other communities of South-east Asian countries also criticised her for endorsing homosexuality as an acceptable way of life.
In 2014, she did not allow turban-wearing Sikhs to ride a motorcycle without wearing a helmet, a decision the Canadian Sikhs called “deeply” disappointing.
Akal Takht jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh said, “The SGPC’s decision is correct. Coming to the shrine and paying obeisance is everyone’s right, but while honouring dignitaries, Sikh ethics need to be taken into account.”