Same-sex marriages can rock societal values: Centre

Source: The post is based on the article “Same-sex marriages can rock societal values: Centre” published in The Hindu on 12th March 2023.

What is the News?

The government has recently said in the Supreme Court that same-sex marriages can hamper societal values.

About the case

The SC has received petitions to allow solemnisation of same-sex marriage under the Special Marriage Act. The petitioners argued that the non-recognition of same-sex marriage amounted to discrimination that struck at the root of the dignity and self-fulfillment of LBTQ+ couples.

Note: The Special Marriage Act of 1954 provides a civil form of marriage for couples who cannot marry under their personal law.

In response to these petitions, the Court issued separate notices to the Union of India and the Attorney General of India. The court also transferred various similar issues pending before various High Courts to itself.

Recently, the centre has filed an affidavit expressing its view on same-sex marriages.

Read more: Rights of Sexual Minorities in India (LGBTQ+ Rights): Status and Challenges – Explained, pointwise

What are the government’s views on same-sex marriages?

Same-sex marriages create havoc in accepted societal values: The institution of marriage has a sanctity attached to it and in major parts of the country, it is regarded as a sacrament, a holy union, and a sanskar.

Despite statutory recognition, marriage necessarily depends upon age-old customs, rituals, practices, cultural ethos and societal values. Even the Parliament has designed and framed the marriage laws in the country based on personal laws and codified laws relatable to the customs of various religious communities.

Hence, any interference with the same would cause complete havoc with the delicate balance of personal laws in the country and accepted societal values.

Court never accepted same-sex marriages: The Court had only decriminalised sexual intercourse between same-sex persons in its 2018 judgment in Navtej Singh Johar. During that time, the court never accepted same-sex marriage as part of the fundamental right to life and dignity under Article 21 of the Constitution.

Same-sex marriages are not acceptable as an Indian family unit: Living together as partners and having sexual relationships by same-sex individuals is not comparable with the Indian family unit concept of a husband, a wife and children.

Only the Centre can decide not the court: Any “deviation” from “statutorily, religiously and socially” accepted norm in “human relationships” can only happen through the legislature and not through the Supreme Court.

Note: Most countries in North and South America and Europe have legalised same sex marriage.

Read more: Marriage Rights of the LGBTQIA+ community
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