India's Supreme Court to consider recognition of same-sex marriage

© RFI/Murali Krishnan

India’s Supreme Court is to consider recognising same-sex marriage under the Special Marriage Act (SMA) which still contains reservations on the issue.

The court decided Friday to proceed with the case weighing legal recognition of same-sex marriages four years after the same institution struck down a colonial-era ban on gay sex.

Legal recognition of a status, or fact, is a formal acknowledgement of that status or fact as being true, valid, legal, or worthy of consideration.

The Indian legal system only supports and promotes heterosexual marriage to date.

Previously, the Indian government had opposed legal recognition of same-sex marriage under the Hindu Marriage Act in a separate case.

The first petition was filed by Supriyo Chakraborty and Abhay Dang who have been a couple for almost a decade and even recently had a commitment ceremony in December 2021, where their relationship was blessed by their parents, family and friends.

Now, they want their marriage recognized under the SMA (Special Marriage Act), a law that originally legalized interfaith unions.

“This is a living issue, not a property issue. Impact is on health, succession. We are only here talking about the Special Marriage Act," said advocate Mukul Rohatgi appearing for the petitioners.

In India, same-sex marriages have no legal sanction, though petitions for legalisation are under consideration in various courts across the country; In the meantime, several gay couples have been participating in commitment ceremonies.

“The time has come for the government to accept marriages among gay couples. Why can we not have the same right to marriage?” Jagdeep Ray, a gay activist told RFI.

Read more on RFI English

Read also:
Indian state becomes first to offer medical schooling in Hindi
India’s top court rules in favour of right of abortion for all women
India struggles to confront its mental health problems