In a monumental judgement, the Supreme Court of India has advocated for the rights of same-sex couples and called for an end to discrimination against them.
What Happened: Chief Justice of India, DY Chandrachud, pronounced a verdict asserting that the freedom to form a union includes the freedom to choose one’s partner and the right to recognition of the union. He stressed that the failure to acknowledge these unions would result in discrimination against queer couples.
The Supreme Court has encouraged the Centre to ensure there is no discrimination against queer couples, including denial of basic goods and services, as it can indirectly violate their freedom if their unions are not recognized.
Justice Ravindra Bhat voiced that acknowledgement for civil unions cannot exist without proper legislation. He argued that the Supreme Court cannot force the State to establish a legal status for same-sex marriages.
Chandrachud also challenged the central government’s view that legalising same-sex marriage is an “urban elite” issue, stating that queerness is not confined to urban or elite groups. He further asserted that all individuals, including those from the LGBT community, have the right to select their partners.
The Chief Justice also declared that a transgender individual in a heterosexual relationship would be recognized by law. However, he reiterated that the Supreme Court’s role is to interpret and enforce law, not to create it.
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In conclusion, Chandrachud stated that reforms in marriage have been brought about by Acts of legislature, and it is up to Parliament to decide whether changes in the Special Marriage Act should be made.
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