Tuesday, October 3

Gay Couples Petition India’s Supreme Court to Legalize Same-sex Marriage

Four gay couples in India have urged their Supreme Court to legalize same-sex marriage. India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, has been given a deadline to respond to their petitions. A legal battle is expected as Modi’s government has refused to move on marriage equality in the past. 

India’s Supreme Court decriminalized homosexuality in 2018 by repealing a colonial-era ban on gay sex. While being gay has become legal, India’s LGBTQ+ community reportedly continue experiencing discrimination and rejection from mainstream society. 

The Supreme Court filings argue that gay couples in India are denied equal rights as long as same-sex marriages aren’t legal. Without the government recognizing their marriages, gay couples in India are denied rights linked to pensions, adoption and medical consent.

On Monday, a lawmaker from Modi’s party made a plea to the country’s parliament to oppose legalizing same-sex marriage. “Same-sex marriage will cause havoc with the delicate balance of personal laws in the country, two judges cannot take a decision on this social issue,” Sushil Modi said. 

Reuters reports that spokespeople from Modi’s government have said that while they firmly oppose same-sex marriage, they will respect the Indian Supreme Court’s ruling on the matter.

The Supreme Court has given Modi’s government until Jan. 6 to respond. With India’s highest court taking this case, a ruling on same-sex marriage in the world’s largest democracy has become inevitable. 

India’s law ministry expressed that marriage depends on “age-old customs (and) rituals,” in a state court filing last year. Clarifying that sexual relations between same-sex partners are “not comparable with the Indian family unit concept of a husband, a wife and children.”


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