India’s Supreme Court Rejects Legal Recognition of Same-Sex Marriage

         

Summary: India’s top court has ruled against legalizing same-sex marriages, stating that it is the responsibility of the parliament to enact such laws. The decision comes after petitions seeking to legalize same-sex marriage were heard by the Supreme Court. While the court acknowledged the duty to acknowledge LGBTQ relationships and protect them from discrimination, it emphasized that defining marriage is a matter for lawmakers. The ruling has disappointed advocates who argued that legal recognition would grant LGBTQ couples access to important rights and benefits.

India’s top court, the Supreme Court, has declined to legally recognize same-sex marriages, stating that it is the role of parliament to create laws on marriage. The decision comes after petitions seeking the legalization of same-sex marriage were heard by the court between April and May. Chief Justice of India, DY Chandrachud, underscored that it is within the domain of parliament and state legislatures to determine the law on marriage. While two out of the four judges on the bench supported same-sex unions, the majority agreed with the Chief Justice’s stance.

Advocates of same-sex marriage were disappointed by the verdict, as they had argued that legal recognition would grant LGBTQ couples access to adoption, insurance, inheritance, and other legal benefits of marriage. One petitioner, Abhijit Ghosh, expressed his disappointment, stating that legal recognition would have allowed him to disclose his relationship to his family and potentially gain their acceptance. However, despite not legalizing same-sex marriage, the court maintained that the country has a duty to acknowledge LGBTQ relationships and protect them from discrimination.

India’s LGBTQ community has long fought for equal rights, with a landmark judgment in 2018 decriminalizing gay sex. However, the battle for legal recognition of same-sex marriage continues. Marriages in India are currently governed by specific religious family laws, such as the Hindu Marriage Act and the Muslim Marriage Act. While the court considered expanding the Special Marriage Act of 1954 to include marriages between people of different castes and religions, the issue of same-sex marriage remains in the hands of parliament. Despite the setback, activists are hopeful as the court asked the government to form a committee to examine entitlements for same-sex couples. The committee’s outcome is eagerly anticipated by the LGBTQ community, who continue to fight for their rights, respect, and dignity.

Tags: India, Supreme Court, same-sex marriage, LGBTQ rights, parliament, legal recognition

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