Supreme Court decides against legalising same-sex marriage, passes issue to Parliament

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The court ruling has disappointed the LGBTQ+ community and rights activists



The Supreme Court on Tuesday said it cannot legalise same-sex marriages, with Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud saying it was up to the Parliament to formulate the appropriate legislation. The five-judge bench, headed by the CJI, heard arguments on a batch of petitions in the case between April and May and pronounced its verdict on Tuesday.

Chandrachud said there was a degree of “agreement and disagreement on how far we have to go” on same-sex marriages as he began reading his order, reported Reuters. Two of the other four judges agreed with Chandrachud on the court not legalising same-sex marriages, making it a majority. Two other judges are yet to speak.

The court ruling, which has disappointed the LGBTQ+ community and rights activists, comes five years after a historic judgement when the Supreme Court scrapped a colonial-era law criminalising gay sex. 

The Centre had opposed the petitions, calling them “urban elitist views” and that such marriages are not “comparable with the Indian family unit concept of a husband, a wife and children”.

Activist Anjali Gopalan, who was among the petitioners, said that the verdict was disappointing. “We have been fighting for long and will keep doing so,” Gopalan told ANI. “Regarding adoption also nothing was done…. this is democracy but we are denying basic rights to our own citizens.” Gopalan said. Gopalan’s plea was among the 21 petitions seeking legal validation for same-sex marriages.

One of the petitioners in the case, Harish Iyer, said that although the verdict was not in their favour, many observations by the Supreme Court were made in the favour of the community. “They have also put the responsibility on the Centre… it might take sometime but we will get societal equality,” Iyer told ANI.

Another activist Prijith PK said they were not expecting “a completely queer-friendly verdict but we they did have expectations and hope”. 

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