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Indian govt opposes recognising same-sex marriage

India’s government will argue against the recognition of same-sex marriage, according to documents filed in the country’s Supreme Court.

epaselect INDIA PRIDE MONTH India decriminalised homosexuality in 2018 but still does not recognise same-sex marriages.
March 13, 2023
By Arpan Chaturvedi
13 March 2023

The Indian government opposes recognising same-sex marriages and has urged the nation’s Supreme Court to reject legal challenges by LGBTQI couples. 

The Ministry of Law believes that while there may be various forms of relationships in society, the legal recognition of marriage is for heterosexual relationships and the state has a legitimate interest in maintaining this, according to the court filing made on Sunday.

“Living together as partners and having sexual relationship by same sex individuals … is not comparable with the Indian family unit concept of a husband, a wife and children,” the ministry argued.

The court cannot be asked “to change the entire legislative policy of the country deeply embedded in religious and societal norms”, it said.

In a historic verdict in 2018, India’s top court decriminalised homosexuality by scrapping a colonial-era ban on gay sex. The current case is being seen as a further important development on LGBTQI rights in the country.

At least 15 pleas, some by gay couples, have been filed in recent months asking the court to recognise same-sex marriages, setting the stage for this legal face-off with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government.

Asia largely lags the West in accepting same-sex marriage.

Taiwan was the first in the region to recognise such unions, while same-sex acts are illegal in some countries, such as Malaysia. Singapore last year ended a ban on gay sex but took steps to bar same-sex marriages.

Japan is the only country among the Group of Seven nations that does not legally recognise same-sex unions, although the public broadly favours recognition.

In India, the issue of same-sex marriage is sensitive: speaking openly about homosexuality is taboo for many in the socially conservative country of 1.4 billion people.

The issue has stoked emotions in the media and in parliament, where a member of Modi’s ruling Hindu nationalist party in December asked the government to strongly oppose the petitions filed in the top court.

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