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The Matter Of Legal Recognition Of Same Sex Marriages In India

Concepts like that of 'homosexuality' is considered a taboo in India, especially considering the conservative nature of our society. This is not just the state of affairs in our country, but in more than 70 nations around the world, homosexuality has been criminalized resulting in pronouncement of either capital punishment or lesser form of sentence to the observers. However, in almost 20 countries it has been legalized as well, the Netherlands being the very first state to have legalized same sex marriages and granting the couples all the rights as have been to heterosexuals in 2001.

Apart from this, nations which have validated the same includes Canada, Mexico, New Zealand, United States and many others. So, this essentially is an international matter but transcending through national realms as well.

The traditionalistic nature of our Indian society in terms of maintaining a status quo in the current gender norms (heterosexuality) could be regarded as an asset to us derived from our customs. Heterosexuality is regarded as a reflection of the highest form of human values in almost every country, including ours.

However, we are living in progressive times where amendments in laws including the norms needs to be made in order to keep ourselves abreast with the developments and thought processes. The Hon'ble Supreme Court of India is currently applying its judicial mind and deliberating upon the matter of granting legal recognition to same sex marriages which was first produced before the court by petitioners with a plea to put a judicial assent to such relationships.

The petitioners have contended that since section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, which dealt with 'unnatural offences', has been decriminalized by the apex court in the case titled as Navtej Singh Johar v Union Of India, 2018, by declaring the same as unconstitutional being violative of Articles 14, 15 and 21 of the Constitution of India, then such marriages be also given a legally backed nod.

The subject matter of granting or not granting legal recognition to same sex marriages in India is a sensitive one and needs to be adjudged keeping into consideration the current needs of the society as well as giving equal respect and appreciation to every individual irrespective of their gender identity. Therefore, a balanced approach needs to be adopted in this matter.

On the other side, if we look at it from the lense of international law, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the major and paramount international human rights instrument in the world which has inspired the formation and adoption of other human rights conventions and Protocols intending to achieve the goals of humanity; human dignity; equal rights and equal opportunities, aims to establish 'a common standard of achievement for all people and all nations'.

Article 1 of this great document states that 'all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights', along with this, the preamble of UDHR states that 'inherent dignity and equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world.' Since India is a signatory to UDHR, which establishes a stage where equal treatment be meted out to every individual irrespective of any possible differentiations, therefore, reaching a just and fair decision both in the interests of our society as well for the people who are an equal part of it is the need of the hour.

Therefore, the matter of the legal recognition of same gender marriages in India, presently placed before the court of law, is being judged by the most competent and judicial minds of our nation and it is hoped by the society that whatever judgement comes the same shall encourage the growth of a bright future of our country.

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