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Business News/ News / India/  Recognition of same-sex marriage: Will India become second Asian nation to recognise it
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Recognition of same-sex marriage: Will India become second Asian nation to recognise it

Last year, the Supreme Court offered a hint at how the case might go, expanding the definition of a family to include same-sex couples and ruling that such partnerships are entitled to social welfare benefits

Harsh Goenka said struggle to win equality for LGBTQ community will have to really won in hearts and minds. (REUTERS)Premium
Harsh Goenka said struggle to win equality for LGBTQ community will have to really won in hearts and minds. (REUTERS)

LGBTQ rights in India have expanded in recent years and, if the current case in Supreme Court goes in favour of the petitioners then the country will become only the second Asian jurisdiction after Taiwan to recognise same-sex unions. It was in 2014 that transgender people were given official recognition as a "third gender" and in 2017 Supreme Court recognised sexual orientation as protected under a fundamental right to privacy.

It was in 2018 when the landmark ruling struck down a colonial-era law that banned gay sex, and in 2022  the court ruled that unmarried partners or same-sex couples were entitled to welfare benefits.

A judgement for the plaintiffs would more than double the number of people globally with marriage equality rights, eventually extending inheritance, adoption and other protections to 1.4 billion Indians. Just a handful of places outside of the West — and only Taiwan in Asia — allow same-sex marriage. India’s case is being closely watched in countries like Thailand, Greece, Japan and South Korea, where similar debates are gaining momentum.

Last year, the Supreme Court offered a hint at how the case might go, expanding the definition of a family to include same-sex couples and ruling that such partnerships are entitled to social welfare benefits.

Meanwhile, Centre, in its affidavit, has opposed the plea seeking legal recognition of same-sex marriage, saying that living together as partners by same-sex individuals, which is decriminalised now, is not comparable with the Indian family unit and they are clearly distinct classes which cannot be treated identically.

The Centre has filed the affidavit countering the demand made by various petitioners seeking legal recognition of same-sex marriage.

In the affidavit, Centre has opposed the plea and said that pleas seeking legal recognition of same-sex ought to be dismissed as there exists no merit in these petitions.

"I think the central Government has taken the right stand," Rahul Easwer added. "There are still debates going on in scientific communities on this subject".

Same-sex relationships and heterosexual relationships are clearly distinct classes which cannot be treated identically, the government said as its stand against the petition seeking legal recognition of LGBTQ marriage.

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Published: 13 Mar 2023, 10:51 AM IST
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