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Should Same Sex Marriages Be Legalized In India?

Indian civilization and culture are among the oldest on Earth. We have changed over the years, bringing in a multitude of exquisitely varied aspects, such as a broad range of dances, songs, foods, clothes, and a style of life that welcomes individuals from many racial and cultural origins.

An individual can select the Indian religious law that they wish to marry under from among a variety of existing laws. Sadly, some laws expressly refer to heterosexual partnerships by utilizing terms like "husband," "wife," "man," and "woman" in connection to one another, or they interpret generally applicable laws in a way that makes them exclusive to these kinds of relationships.

It took the judiciary a very long time to decriminalise homosexuality; in 2018, the historic case of Navtej Johar v. Union of India finally achieved this, but regrettably, the ruling offers nothing to grant same-sex couples the same freedoms as it affords heterosexual couples.

Marriage is still seen as a heterosexual institution in India, and as a result, same-sex couples do not have many of the same rights as heterosexual married couples. In light of this, the LGBTQIA+ community continues to advocate for social equality.

The abbreviation LGBTQIA+ stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning, Intersex, and Asexual/Ally. The + symbol is frequently used to include various identities and orientations not specifically stated in the acronym.

Contemporary Times:
The Indian government stated in 2003 that legalizing homosexuality would "open the floodgates of delinquent behaviour." In 2009, the Delhi High Court ruled in Naz Foundation Govt. of NCT of Delhi that Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code,1860 and other legal prohibitions on private, adult, consensual, and non-commercial same-sex conduct were in direct violation of the Indian Constitution's fundamental rights.

However, the Supreme Court of India overruled the Delhi High Court decision Naz Foundation v. Govt. of NCT of Delhi and reinstated Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code in another case, namely Suresh Kumar Kaushal v. Naz foundation,2013.

The Supreme Court also declared that judicial action was not necessary in this case, and the court ultimately opted to recriminalize sexual intercourse as "against the natural order." In Fazalrab v. State of Bihar, the Supreme Court dealt with a case in which a man had gay relations with a kid with the youngster's agreement.

In the case of Puttaswamy v. Union of India, the Supreme Court unanimously concluded in August 2017 that the right to individual privacy is an essential and basic right under the Indian Constitution. The Court also found that a person's sexual orientation is a privacy concern, giving LGBTQIA+ activists optimism that Section 377 may be repealed shortly.

Legislation pertaining to same-sex marriage will be handled by Parliament after a five-judge Supreme Court Constitution Bench refused to allow it on October 17, 2023. As to the Bench's ruling, the court cannot interfere as there is no inherent entitlement to marry.

Acknowledgement Of Same Sex Attraction:

Ever before same-sex attraction was recognized as a phenomenon, humans have found themselves drawn to other species, such as birds and animals. Similar conduct is described by ancient Indian literature, stories from Hindu mythology, and the sculptures at the Khajuraho temple.

Same-sex relationships, like heterosexual unions, are characterized by factors other than sexual desire. Lesbians, gay males, and homosexual couples share the universal human need to form close emotional bonds, look for companionship, have children, and show their love via close relationships.

Problems Encountered By LGBTQIA+ Community In India:

Due to their sexual orientation or gender identity, members of the LGBTQIA+ community frequently face assault, harassment, and discrimination. People who identify as LGBTQIA+ are frequently shunned, harassed, and barred from social events since homosexuality is still stigmatized in many sections of Indian culture. There isn't much legal protection in India against violence and discrimination on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation.

The stress and prejudice LGBTQIA+ people experience can lead to health problems including HIV/AIDS, depression, anxiety, and drug addiction. Numerous LGBTQIA+ individuals encounter obstacles in obtaining healthcare services, such as mental health care and HIV/AIDS treatment, as a result of societal stigma and prejudice. Numerous LGBTQIA+ individuals experience rejection and disavowal from their families, which can result in mental health problems, homelessness, and unstable finances.

Arguments In Support Of Same-Sex Marriage:

Ensuring equal treatment under the law for all people, irrespective of their sexual orientation, is a civil rights issue, which includes legalizing same-sex marriage. Regardless of gender or sexual orientation, everyone should be able to marry the person they love.

Legal rights regarding adoption, inheritance, and other family-related issues should be same for same-sex couples as for heterosexual couples.

Married same-sex couples benefit more from improved mental health because they have more social acceptability, economic stability, and social support. Legalising same-sex unions can contribute to societal stability by lowering stigmas and growing the number of legally recognized families.

Objections To Same-Sex Marriage:

Many people are religiously opposed to same-sex marriage and believe it a sin. Same-sex marriage is seen by some as a danger to conventional family values. Growing up in same-sex families raises worries about potential harmful effects on children. Some people think that accepting same-sex marriages would lead to moral decline and other detrimental social effects, such as the dissolution of families.

Final Thoughts:
The legalisation of same-sex marriage is a logical step towards the acceptance and integration of India's LGBTQIA+ minority, which has endured decades of marginalisation and harassment. Although the legalization of homosexuality was a step in the right direction, extending civil rights like marriage and adoption is crucial to building a more accepting and varied community.

Legalizing same-sex unions might open doors for future generations and be a significant step in restoring India to its former status as a cosmopolitan, inclusive, and varied civilization. The government should consider the distinct cultural and socioeconomic settings of India while striking a balance between societal cohesiveness and individual liberties.

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