LGBT community rights

Context- Issues and Challenges of same sex marriages in India.

What is Solicitor General Verdict on same sex marriage?

Same-sex marriages are neither a part of “our culture” nor a part of the law, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta told the Delhi High Court Monday, opposing a petition demanding marriage rights for the gay community under the Hindu Marriage Act 1955.

What is the history of same sex marriage in India?

Same-sex marriages are not a new phenomenon in India.

  • Hindu scriptures define marriage as the union of ‘two souls’ and the same scriptures also define that a soul has no gender. It is only the human bodies that possess a gender.
  • These scriptures are a major source of Hindu Law including the Act. The Act merely codifies the Hindu law and doesn’t try to erode the values imbibed within the Holy Scriptures.
  • The 11th-century Sanskrit text, the Kathasaritsagara, provides the same explanation for cross-class and cross-caste couples who want to marry.

What are difficulties faces by LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender] community?

  1. Legal recognition- Same-sex marriages are not legally recognized in India.
  • For example- Recently, a PIL was filed in the High Court of Delhi seeking declaration to the marriage rights of the gay community under the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955.
  • The petitioner avers that the Act allows marriages between “two Hindus” without any discrimination between heterosexual and homosexual couples.
  • But still, gay couples can’t get married and register the same under the Act.
  1. Deprived in Rights – The rights enjoyed by opposite-sex couples are not enjoyed by same-sex couples. They are prohibited from those rights. For example-
  • The lack of a legal structure around their relationship became increasingly stark when they tried to bring each other on as nominees in insurance and financial plans, just as a married couples did.
  • Most male-female married couples take for granted that the day after they marry, they can open a joint account, make health and funeral-related decisions for each other, and inherit each other’s property.
  1. Families violently separated the same sex couples, often driving them to suicide.
  2. Racial Discrimination– Additionally, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people suffer from social and economic inequalities due to continuous discrimination.

Way forward-

  • Countries around the world have legalized same-sex marriages. The world is heading towards progressive LGBTQ rights. Therefore, it is time to join the many democracies which recognize the right of a citizen to marry anyone she chooses.
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