India’s Supreme Court considers legalization of same-sex marriage nationwide

Pride
Pride Parade in Kolkata (India) – SUDIP CHANDA / ZUMA PRESS / CONTACTOPHOTO

India’s Supreme Court has agreed to consider a petition to legalize same-sex marriage across the country by taking advantage of the benefits offered by the interfaith marriage law, the declaration of privacy as a fundamental right and the decriminalization of same-sex relationships in 2018.

All these laws have been evoked by a homosexual couple to raise their case before the country’s Supreme Court, whose magistrates, the petitioners recall, have already expressed on more than one occasion that members of the LGBTQ+ community have the same fundamental and constitutional rights as other citizens.

However, the legal framework regulating the institution of marriage in India does not allow for the marriage of members of the LGBTQ+ community, in what the petitioners consider a violation of the national Constitution.

The two petitioners have been a couple for 17 years and are raising two children together, but the inability to legalize their relationship in marriage has rendered them unable to maintain any kind of legal relationship with their children, reports NDTV.

The chief justice of the Supreme Court, D.Y. Chandrachud, known for his openness towards the LGBTQ+ community, has so far given the Indian government four weeks to take an official position on the petition before proceeding further.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has already opposed legal recognition of same-sex marriage under the Hindu Marriage Act in a separate case. According to government lawyers, any permission for same-sex marriages would go against the cultural values of Indian society.

In 2018, however, the Government avoided ruling on the decriminalization of sexual relations and left the decision to the Supreme Court, which has been increasingly receptive to hearing such cases.

For example, earlier this year, a group of judges, including Chandrachud, ruled that non-traditional families are entitled to protection. The ruling, while not specifically aimed at the LGBTQ community, created a space for these households to receive benefits under social welfare legislation.