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The Indian Supreme Court has rejected pleas to legalise same-sex marriage

The Indian Supreme Court has rejected pleas to legalise same-sex marriage, also known as gay or LGBTQ+ marriage. It grants them the same legal rights, benefits, and responsibilities as opposite-sex marriages. The court ruled in a 3:2 verdict that same-sex marriages are a statutory right but not a fundamental right, and therefore, it is up to Parliament and state legislatures to address this issue through legislation. The court cannot alter the Special Marriage Act (SMA) 1954 to include same-sex members, as only the legislature can do so. The relationship of marriage is not static, and queer people have equal rights and freedoms. However, there is no fundamental right to marry under the Constitution.

The court supports the government's proposal for a committee to investigate entitlements for same-sex couples. The Supreme Court (SC) has ruled on various issues, including the interpretation of the Special Marriage Act (SMA), the right to adopt a child for queer couples, and the right to form intimate associations. The SC ruled that marriage is not a fundamental right in itself but has gained significance due to state regulation. The SC also struck down certain CARA regulations, stating they reinforce the disadvantage faced by the queer community. The majority view upheld CARA regulations and suggested a committee to determine the rights available to queer couples in unions.

However, the majority view disagreed with prescribing a choice of civil unions but suggested the state should facilitate this choice for those who wish to exercise it. A 'civil union' grants legal rights and responsibilities to same-sex couples, similar to marriage, but lacks personal law recognition. Countries like the US and Sweden recognised civil unions until same-sex marriage was legalised. The Special Marriage Act (SMA) of 1954 is a law in India that allows civil marriage for Indian nationals and Indian nationals in foreign countries, regardless of religion or faith. When a person solemnises a marriage under this law, it is governed by the Special Marriage Act, not personal laws. Other laws for registration include the Hindu Marriage Act and the Muslim Personal Law Application Act.

In 2018, the Indian Supreme Court decriminalised same-sex marriage, despite it not being explicitly recognised as a fundamental or constitutional right under statutory law. The Supreme Court has recognised transgenders as third genders, the right to sexual orientation as a privacy aspect, and the right to marry a person of one's choice as integral to Article 21 of the Constitution. The LGBTQ community is entitled to the full range of constitutional rights, including liberties protected by the Constitution, equal citizenship, and "equal protection of law."

The Central Government believes that only the legislature has the right to make changes in the law, as marriage is not limited to the private sphere and is regulated by society's acceptance, which is the basis for state recognition of marriage. Same-sex marriage is a controversial issue, with arguments in favour of it. The argument is that same-sex couples should have the same legal rights and protections as opposite-sex couples under the Fundamental Rights to Equality. Non-recognition of same-sex marriage violates the Constitution's rights under Articles 14 and 15, which protect against discrimination based on religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth, freedom of speech and expression, and protection of life and personal liberty. Marriage provides social and economic benefits to couples and their families, benefiting both same-sex individuals and same-sex couples themselves.

The argument also highlights that biological gender is not absolute, and gender recognition is more complex than just one's genitals. Same-sex marriage is a controversial issue, with arguments in favour of it. The argument is that same-sex couples should have the same legal rights and protections as opposite-sex couples under the Fundamental Rights to Equality. Religious and cultural groups argue against same-sex marriage due to the belief that it should only be between a man and a woman. Some argue that the primary purpose of marriage is procreation, while others view it as against nature, legal issues like inheritance, tax, and property rights, and the potential for societal stigma and discrimination in adoption.

The Supreme Court has addressed the issue of same-sex marriage, highlighting ethical concerns. Arguments include equal rights, recognition of love and commitment, moral or religious beliefs, fairness, and equal treatment. The article also discusses the legal implications, advising for expanding marriage definitions and maintaining traditional ones. The role of the state in regulating personal relationships and defining moral norms is discussed, with a focus on minimal intervention, individual rights, public morality, and cultural and democratic influence. The Australian Act 2008 and the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 in England and Wales have all aimed to provide equal rights for same-sex couples in areas such as social security, employment, and taxation. In 2015, the US Supreme Court declared the denial of marriage rights to same-sex couples a grave and continuing harm, leading to legalisation in at least 29 countries worldwide.

The resolution of this debate requires balancing values like equality, individual rights, religious freedom, and societal norms, considering the rights and dignity of all involved while respecting diverse perspectives on marriage's meaning and purpose. The plan involves raising awareness for LGBTQIA+ rights, implementing legal reforms like amending the Special Marriage Act, engaging with religious leaders, challenging existing laws, and fostering collaboration among stakeholders.

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Tags: Supreme Court LGBTQ INDIA LGBTQIA+ rights Special Marriage Act


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