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India One Step Closer To Legalizing Same-Sex Marriage

In a move that might build on a spate of decisions strengthening protection for the LGBTQ community, India’s Supreme Court has decided to review a petition calling for the legalisation of same-sex marriage in Asia’s second-biggest nation.

The appeal, which was submitted by a gay couple this month, referred to India’s Special Marriage Act, a piece of legislation that first made interfaith marriage possible. The pair took inspiration from other significant Indian judgements, such as one that declared privacy to be a basic right and another that decriminalised homosexual relationships in 2018.

Legalizing same-sex unions in India will be in opposition to several worldwide lgbt issues. Singapore eliminated criminal sanctions for homosexuality earlier this year but refrained from legalising gay marriage. Additionally, politicians in the US are debating government recognition of same-sex couples due to fears that a more conservative Supreme Court might overturn its 2015 decision legalising same-sex unions.

The petitioners in India claim that being denied the right to marry violates their equality. They testified before the court that the right to marry affects issues like personal liberty, adoption, and finances.

The administration has been allowed four weeks to make a decision by the Supreme Court, which is presided over by Chief Justice D.Y. Chandrachud.

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This is not the first time a gay marriage case has been brought to the court. In a related lawsuit that sought a similar remedy from a lower court, the Indian government, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, rejected the legal recognition of same-sex marriage under the Hindu Marriage Act. Government attorneys claimed that allowing same-sex unions would go against Indian society’s cultural norms.

However, in 2018, the government remained silent on the issue of decriminalising gay sex, leaving it up to the court to make a decision.

The Supreme Court of India has been more receptive to considering issues involving LGBTQ rights. A trio of justices, led by Chandrachud, determined earlier this year that unconventional families are deserving of protection.

Although not specifically directed at the LGBTQ population, this decision opened the door for these households to be eligible for social welfare benefits.

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