In a recent court decision, the Supreme Court of India, with a 3-2 majority, said no to giving official recognition to same-sex couples. They made it clear that only Parliament and state legislatures have the power to approve marriages. This disappointed many LGBTQ+ people in India.
Supreme Court: No Approval for Same-Sex Marriage
The court also said no to giving legal protection to civil unions and adoption rights for queer couples. They worried that forcing the government to recognize specific unions could cause problems and go against the separation of powers.
The court, in reviewing laws, must stay away from issues that belong to the government.”
The judges, including Chief Justice Dhananjaya Y. Chandrachud and others, all agreed that the right to marry isn’t a fundamental right. They also said it’s not the court’s job to tell the government to make new laws about same-sex marriages and queer relationships.
The bench emphasized, “The court shouldn’t interfere with what the government decides. The laws about marriage are made by Parliament and state assemblies.”
But, there was disagreement on two important things—recognizing civil unions and adoption rights.
This decision upset about 20 petitioners who argued that not recognizing their relationships meant they missed out on things that heterosexual couples get, breaking their constitutional rights.
One petitioner, Supriyo Chakraborty, said, “We are deeply disappointed by the judgment today.”
At first, it seemed positive for the petitioners as some judges showed support for recognizing civil unions and allowing LGBTQ+ people to adopt. However, as the decision went on, it became clear that most judges were against it.
Sameer Samudra, another petitioner, said, “It was a roller-coaster of emotions for us.
Now, the focus shifts to a special committee, led by the Union cabinet secretary, promised by the government during the hearings. This committee will look into issues affecting non-heterosexual couples’ rights and suggest changes.
The judges who disagreed set out what the committee should look at—medical, jail visits, and financial rights, as well as questions about succession, maintenance, and pensions. However, the judges who agreed only talked about forming the committee.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who led the government’s opposition to recognizing same-sex couples, welcomed the decision.