Where does same-sex marriage legalisation stand in India?

In a recent move, two gay couples have filed two petitions in the Supreme Court to recognise same-sex marriages, thereby setting the stage for a legal face-off. 

SC’s current  Chief Justice, D Y Chandrachud, has heard the two filed litigation where the couples believe that the state’s refusal to accept and consider them as married couples violate their fundamental rights. 

Let’s go back to 2018. The Supreme Court, in a landmark decision, overturned a colonial-era ban on gay sex and decriminalised homosexuality in 2018. 

Need of the hour

The community advocates claim that despite it being a fundamental right enjoyed by heterosexual couples, same-sex marriages still lack the legal sanctity they should have. 

Soon after decriminalising homosexuality, there were widespread discussions on reaching a stage where same-sex marriage could be legalised. One of the existing laws, The Special Marriage Act, was initially passed by the parliament to give legal recognition to interfaith marriages. Now, the LGBTQ+ community wish to have their marriages registered under the same act. 

Moreover, LGBTQ couples are requesting that the government provide them with the same rights as married couples, including the ability to adopt children and pass down property. However, opposition to same-sex unions is still present.

Even if there is more understanding of the LGBTQ community in India, there is still stigma and opposition to full acceptance. More and more governments throughout the world are debating whether to recognise same-sex marriages legally. The Netherlands was the first to allow same-sex couples to marry courteously in 2001. Currently, 33 nations and territories, predominantly in Europe and the Americas, have passed national laws allowing gay marriage.

Way to go

International bodies, such as the United Nations, have passed resolutions in favour of LGBTQ+ rights, but human rights groups claim that these bodies lack the authority to enforce them. Similarly, as far as the Indian scenario is concerned, the centre had previously opposed same-sex marriages and argued that the legislature should make laws rather than judges.

It is vital to understand that a relationship and eventual marriage between two people of the same sex are natural and acceptable. Being gay or lesbian is a trait that is acquired rather than chosen. Many people assert that when it comes to getting married, cohabiting, and having children, same-sex couples are just as capable as heterosexual ones.

Although, it is up to the legislative bodies and judiciary to intervene in such matters. However, it’s time to accept that being gay, lesbian, etc., is normal. We, as a society, have to move step-by-step towards making this world more inclusive for the transgender community and letting them enjoy their fundamental rights to the fullest.

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