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?
- 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.
- 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.
- Families violently separated the same sex couples, often driving them to suicide.
- Racial Discrimination– Additionally, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people suffer from social and economic inequalities due to continuous discrimination.
- 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.