Explained: What Is The Same-Sex Marriage PIL In The Supreme Court That Is Being Opposed By The Centre?

They deserve the right to marry too!
Explained: What Is The Same-Sex Marriage PIL In The Supreme Court That Is Being Opposed By The Centre?

For the past 2 days, same-sex marriage has been a hot topic of debate across India. The reason? A batch of PILs in the Supreme Court of India seeking legalisation of same-sex marriage. While there are several petitioners seeking legal recognition of same-sex marriage, the Union government has been opposing the petitions. A few days ago, the Centre filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court opposing the same and claiming that marriage can only take place between a biological man and a biological woman.

Amidst this heated debate, queer activist Harish Iyer shared a video on LinkedIn highlighting the importance of legalising same-sex marriage as it gives the homosexual community the same rights as heterosexual couples get in marriages. He pointed out that it’s not that homosexual couples aren’t getting married, it’s just that their marriage is not legally recognised and does not make their partner their next of kin which, in turn, does not give them succession rights and leads to legal trouble. He further urged people to support the people from the LGBTQ+ community around them as well as their colleagues.

So, What Did The Supreme Court Say In The Latest Proceedings In The Case?

On Monday, March 13, a 3-judge bench comprising CJI DY Chandrachud and Justices PS Narasimha and JB Pardiwala referred the matter to a 5-judge bench while terming it a “seminal issue”. The hearing in the matter will commence from April 18 onwards.

During the hearing on Monday, senior advocates for the petitioners stated that while the judgement passed in the Navtej Singh Johar and others v. Union of India case decriminalised same-sex sexual relations, it still does not give homosexual people the right to love as they do not have the right to marriage which means that their right to love does not come to fruition.

One of the advocates suggested that the term ‘man’ and ‘woman’ should be replaced with gender-neutral terms in the Special Marriage Act allowing same-sex couples to get married. Further, the advocates stated that Article 19 of the Indian constitution allows every citizen the right to choose a partner which is an extension of the right to freedom of speech and expression and the right to dignity.

Also Read: United Hindu Front Stages Protest Against SC Hearing Petitions To Legalise Same-Sex Marriage

On the other hand, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta representing the government claimed that the Navtej Johar judgement does give the LGBTQ+ community the right to love but it does not automatically mean that they have the right to marriage. The same was opposed by the petitioner, however the Solicitor General argued against it and stated that legalising same-sex marriage would then lead to same-sex couples asking for other rights like adoption which could lead to problems. Further he stated that the matter has “grave ramifications on the society”.

The petitioners sought live streaming of the hearing as the Supreme Court deemed the matter of grave importance and referred it to a Constitutional Bench noting that the case involves interplay between legislative enactments as well as constitutional rights.

What Did The Centre Say Its Submission On March 12?

The Union Government of India has opposed the legal recognition of same-sex marriage in an affidavit submitted to the Supreme Court on Sunday. As per the document, the Centre has reportedly made several homophobic submissions stating that as per the law, marriage can only take place between a biological man and a biological woman. In their submission, the Union Government has claimed that “socially, culturally and legally” the idea and concept of marriage is the union between 2 people of the opposite sex and this concept must not be disturbed or diluted.

Also Read: In Rajya Sabha, BJP MP Says Same-Sex Marriage Will Cause Havoc

As per the affidavit, the Centre has claimed that personal laws also recognised marriage between a man and a woman and the court cannot give it another meaning for judicial interpretation as these laws are based on societal practices and customs. The government stated that same-sex marriages are against the concept of Indian families and marriages. Arguing that laws have been made for couples of the opposite sex, the Centre claimed that legalising same-sex marriages would complicate the other laws that provide certain rights to people in heterosexual relationships such as the laws against dowry, domestic violence, adoption and more. The government also submitted that no fundamental rights of same-sex couples are being violated by non-recognition of their marriage as there is a difference between heterosexual and homosexual couples and marriages.

More About The PIL Seeking Legal Recognition Of Same-Sex Marriage

There have been several pending PIL before the Supreme Court of India seeking the legalisation of same-sex marriage as well as several others in different High Courts across India. These petitions claim that the marriage laws violate the fundamental rights of the people from the LGBTQ+ community and are discriminatory. While hearing the petitions in January, the Supreme Court clubbed all the petitions seeking legal recognition of same-sex marriages and transferred all similar petitions pending in the High Courts in Kerala, Gujarat and Delhi. The Apex court is currently hearing 19 petitions filed by several people including some homosexual couples. These petitions challenge laws around marriage between heterosexual couples and claim that many of these rules and guidelines violate rights given to citizens under Articles 14, 15, 19 and 21 of the Indian Constitution. These petitions further seek legal recognition of same-sex marriages.

Also Read: 8 Countries That Have Legalised Same-Sex Marriage In The Last 5 Year

Here’s to hoping that the Indian Judiciary can serve justice and give the people of the LGBTQ+ community the right to choose their partner and marry them too. Why should heterosexuals have the right to marry and not those from the LGBTQ+ community? Love is after all blind, to caste, class, religion, gender, gender identity and just about everything else!

Centre Invalidates Pleas To Recognise Same-Sex Marriage: “Nobody Is Dying Because They Don’t Have Marriage Certificate.”

Janvi Manchanda

​​She uses her pen to slice through patriarchy. She could be Geet one day, Wednesday Addams next. Writing is the bane of her existence and the object of all her desires!

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