Same-sex marriages: All eyes on the Supreme Court today

The Central government has opposed the petitions seeking legal validation for same-sex marriages, claiming they will cause ‘complete havoc’

Livemint
Updated18 Apr 2023
Supreme Court is scheduled to hear a batch of petitions seeking legal validation of same-sex marriages on 18 April
Supreme Court is scheduled to hear a batch of petitions seeking legal validation of same-sex marriages on 18 April(HT_PRINT)

A five-judge Supreme Court constitution bench is scheduled to hear a batch of petitions seeking legal validation of same-sex marriages in the country today(18 April). A bench of Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud and justices S K Kaul, S Ravindra Bhat, P S Narasimha, and Hima Kohli will commence the hearing on April 18. The hearing and the consequential outcome will have significant ramifications for the country where common people and political parties hold divergent views on the subject.

Here are 10 updates on same-sex marriages in India:

  • The Central government has opposed the petitions seeking legal validation for same-sex marriages, claiming they will cause “complete havoc” with the delicate balance of personal laws and accepted societal values.
  • The Centre yesterday dubbed same-sex marriage as an "urban elitist concept far removed from social ethos of the country". The government told the apex court, the petitioners, by demanding same-sex marriage rights were advancing "mere urban elitist views for the purpose of social acceptance". The Centre said the institution of marriage between two individuals of the same gender is neither recognised nor accepted in uncodified personal laws or codified statutory laws.

  • Jamiat Ulama-i Hind has also opposed the petitions saying they are an attack on the family system and in complete contravention of all personal laws. "This concept of same-sex marriage goes to attack the family system rather than making a family through this process," it said.
  • The Delhi Commission For Protection of Child Rights (DCPCR) supported the petition saying the Centre and state governments should take steps to create public awareness that same-sex family units are “normal”. It said multiple studies on same-sex parenting have demonstrated that same-sex couples can be good parents.
  • A bench headed by CJI Chandrachud, who was also part of the Constitution bench that 2018 decriminalised consensual gay sex, issued a notice to the Centre in November last year, besides seeking Attorney General R Venkataramani's assistance in dealing with the pleas.
  • The top court's five-judge Constitution bench, in a path-breaking unanimous verdict delivered on September 6, 2018, held that consensual sex among adult homosexuals or heterosexuals in private space is not a crime while striking down a part of the British-era penal law that criminalised it on the ground that it violated the constitutional right to equality and dignity.
  • Bobby Darling, an actor who underwent gender transformation, has moved an intervening application in the Supreme Court supporting the petition seeking legal recognition of same-sex marriage.
  • According to the Pew Research Center, 30 countries and territories have enacted national laws allowing gays and lesbians to marry, mostly in Europe and the Americas.
  • List of countries where same-sex marriages are legal: Costa Rica (2020), Northern Ireland (2019), Ecuador (2019), Taiwan (2019), Austria (2019), Australia (2017), Malta (2017), Germany (2017), Colombia (2016), United States (2015), Greenland (2015), Ireland (2015), Finland (2015), Luxembourg (2014), Scotland (2014), England and Wales (2013), Brazil (2013), France (2013), New Zealand (2013), Uruguay (2013), Denmark (2012), Argentina (2010), Portugal (2010), Iceland (2010), Sweden (2009), Norway (2008), South Africa (2006), Spain (2005), Canada (2005), Belgium (2003), The Netherlands (2000).
  • Countries that allow same-sex marriage in some jurisdictions--Mexico (2009)

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