The Indian government has filed a legal document opposing the recognition of same-sex marriages, in a move that has alarmed LGBT rights activists. In the document, the Ministry of Law states that legal recognition of marriage is exclusively reserved for heterosexual relationships and that the state has a legitimate interest in maintaining this position. The document argues that the Indian family unit concept is not compatible with the concept of living together as same-sex partners. This move has been met with strong opposition from activists who are seeking greater LGBT rights in the country.
In 2018, the Indian Supreme Court scrapped the colonial-era ban on homosexuality, a historic verdict that was seen as a major step forward for LGBT rights in the country. However, the issue of same-sex marriage remains a sensitive topic in India. Despite the 2018 ruling, same-sex couples still lack legal backing for their unions, which is a basic right enjoyed by heterosexual married couples.
At least 15 pleas have been filed with the Supreme Court, some by gay couples, asking for the recognition of same-sex marriages, setting the stage for this legal battle with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government. The current case is being seen as a further important development on LGBT rights in the country.
Activists say that while the 2018 ruling affirmed their constitutional rights, it is unjust that they still lack legal backing for their unions. However, the government has argued that any change to the legal structure should be the domain of the elected parliament, not the court.
The issue of same-sex marriage is sensitive in India, where speaking openly about homosexuality is taboo for many in the socially conservative country of 1.4 billion people. Nevertheless, LGBT activists are determined to push for greater rights and recognition, despite the opposition they face. The case is set to be heard in the Supreme Court on Monday, and its outcome is eagerly anticipated by all parties involved.