Same-Sex Marriage in India

Although most marriage laws utilise gender-neutral terminology, marriage is a prevalent cultural bond that is exclusively known as being between males and females. While there have only recently been numerous cases of homosexual weddings being acceptable, culture is gradually becoming indulgent. This reform is also reflected in Navtej Singh vs Union of India, where the Supreme Court overturned section 377 of the IPC.

However, several states have maintained their constitutional restrictions on homosexual marriages despite numerous protests from individuals and groups who argue that same-sex marriage must be permitted.

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Meaning: Same-Sex Marriage

Marriage between people of the same sex, or SAME-SEX MARRIAGE (SSM), is a recent societal development that creates a new family structure.

SSM did not exist in the modern era until the twenty-first century when more and more nations started allowing same-sex couples to get married legally. Additionally, a growing global movement to recognise marriage as a fundamental human right that should be extended to same-sex couples emerged in the latter half of the 20th century (Moumneh, 2009; Human et al., 2009; Adam et al., 1999).

These developments are astounding because same-sex marriage was unthinkable and seen by nearly everyone as an oxymoron, even during the majority of the 20th century.

SSM is causing collation, controversy, and opposition in many nations throughout the world, particularly in the United States, as a result of successful legal challenges and related social and legislative changes (Masci, 2009; Angus-Reid, 2009; Eskridge & Spedale, 2006).

Indeed, one of the most socially, politically, and legally contentious issues of the day is the legal recognition of same-sex marriage. While most responses to this novel union and family formation method have been strong and vociferous, many pundits and the general public lack a solid understanding of same-sex unions. Public perception and sentiments about SSM are too frequently shaped by misinformation, gossip, and misperception.

What Indian People Think

According to a Pew Research Centre study that polled people in 24 nations, fifty-three per cent of individuals surveyed in India either “somewhat favour” or “strongly favour” same-sex marriage. The number of people who said they supported it “strongly” was somewhat more significant than the number of people who said they supported it “somewhat” (25%).

In India, same-sex unions are not officially permitted, and the country’s LGBT couples can only enjoy certain privileges if they live together as a cohabitating pair.

Recent Developments

Two same-sex couples petitioned the Supreme Court on November 14, 2022, requesting that same-sex marriages be recognised as legal in India. The Special Marriage Act of 1954 was the subject of the petitions, which focused on its constitutionality. Supriyo Chakraborty and Abhay Dang submitted the initial petition. Parth Phiroze Merhotra and Uday Raj Anand filed a second petition.

The petitioners contend that only “male” and “female” marriages are recognised by section 4(c) of the Act. Denying them marriage privileges, including adoption, surrogacy, employment, and retirement benefits, discriminates against same-sex couples.

The petitioners requested that section 4(c) of the Special Marriage Act be ruled unconstitutional by the court.

The request was linked to several other petitions that question other personal laws. The Hindu Marriage Act of 1955 and the Foreign Marriage Act of 1969 were two of the laws that were challenged.

The petitioners contended that denying same-sex marriage infringed their rights to dignity, equality, and freedom of expression. The cases NALSA vs Union of India (2014) and Navtej Singh Johar vs Union of India (2018), which validated non-binary gender identities and provided equal rights to homosexual people, were cited by these people.

Related: Five Landmark Judgements Related to IPC

Conclusion

By invalidating section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, the Supreme Court’s 2018 ruling in Navtej Singh Johar vs Union of India decriminalised homosexuality in India. The LGBTQ+ community in India has reached a significant turning point by recognising their right to love and intimacy without concern for retaliation or prosecution.

Read Next: Section 377 – Homosexuality in India

Yugandhara
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