New Delhi: Marriage equality continues to be a distant dream for LGBTQIA+ community in India, as Supreme Court on Tuesday (October 17) refused to grant legal recognition to same-sex marriages. A five-judge Constitution bench of the Supreme Court was in agreement that marriage equality overall must be decided by the Parliament and cannot be brought in by the court.
Chief Justice of India (CJI) D Y Chandrachud, who was heading the bench pronouncing its verdict on 21 pleas seeking legal validation for same-sex marriages, said, “The court can’t make law but only interpret it and it is for Parliament to change the Special Marriage Act.
However, the CJI made many favourable points, demanding equal rights for the community. Disagreeing with the centre’s argument that marriage equality is an urban, elite concept, the Chief Justice today said,”Queerness is not urban elite. Homosexuality or queerness is not an urban concept or restricted to the upper classes of the society.
He further added that the right to enter into union includes the right to choose one’s partner and the right to recognition of that union and said, “A failure to recognise such associations will result in discrimination against queer couples. The right to enter into union cannot be restricted on the basis of sexual orientation.”
Here’s a look at what activists think of the judgement:
Sayantika Majumdar and Nikita Prakash, same sex couple, who has been breaking the stereotypes set for lesbian partners on social media platform and spreading awareness said,
“Marriage is our basic right and should not be restricted to the concept of gender. Our law validates marriage as the union of people and we feel, it should not be a privilege for certain sexual orientations and genders. It is very unfair that some basic rights are enjoyed only by straight people and not by people of all genders.”
Activist Anjali Gopalan speaking to ANI (a news agency), who was among one of the petitioners in the same sex marriage case said that the Supreme Court judgement is disappointing but as an activist we will continue to fight. She added,
“We have been fighting for equal rights for LGBTQIA+ Community for long and will continue to do so. What the Chief Justice of India said regarding the community rights for marriage and adoption is good but it is disappointing to the disagreement from the other judges. We live in a democracy but we are denying basic rights to our own citizens.”
One of the another petitioners in the case and LGBTQIA+ rights activist Harish Iyer said that although the verdict was not in their favour but many observations by the Supreme Court were made in the favour of the community. He added,
“War is underway…it might take sometime but we will get societal equality.”
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