India’s top court on Tuesday declined to legalise same-sex marriage and left it to parliament to decide, agreeing with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government that the legislature is the right forum to rule on the contentious issue.
The unanimous order by a five-judge bench came as a huge disappointment to the large LGBTQ community in the world’s most populous country, five years after the court scrapped a colonial-era ban on gay sex.
There was no immediate response from the government to the court ruling but Modi’s nationalist administration had opposed petitions to the court on the issue, saying same-sex marriage is not “comparable with the Indian family unit concept of a husband, a wife and children”.
The Associated Press reports:
During the hearings, the government argued that a marriage is only between a biological male and a biological woman, adding that same-sex marriages went against religious values and that the petitions reflected only “urban elitist views”. Religious groups too had opposed same-sex unions, saying they went against Indian culture.
Adish Aggarwala, the president of the Supreme Court bar association, said the court had done the right thing by recognizing that this was a job for Parliament, an argument the government also made during the hearings.
Lawyers for the petitioners argued that marriage is between two people, not just a man and woman. They said concepts of marriage have gradually changed with time and laws should acknowledge that.
Supreme Court refuses to give marriage equality rights to the LGBTQIA+ community in India. Lawyer Karuna Nundy Statement…#BREAKING_NEWS #cjidychandrachud #SupremeCourtofIndia #MarriageEquality #SameSexMarriage #LGBTQIA #SupremeCourt #NFAOnDDpic.twitter.com/28JnOT0XtI
— Shailendra Singh (@Shailendra97S) October 17, 2023
India’s top court on Tuesday declined to legalize same-sex marriage in a landmark ruling, though it said the LGBTQ community should not be discriminated against. https://t.co/JVYRycJMR7
— The Daily Beast (@thedailybeast) October 17, 2023