The Government of India is putting up strong resistance rejecting efforts by certain groups promoting the initiative.
Five years after India’s Supreme Court decentralized homosexuality its government is still homophobic.
As the court begins to hear dozens of petitions in a collective lawsuit demanding the right of LGBTQ couples to marry, the dissent from Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government is loud and clear.
In a strongly worded affidavit asking the court to throw these cases out, the government has argued that same-sex marriage is an “urban elitist concept” that undermines religious and social values.
In a landmark verdict in September 2018, the Supreme Court had struck down a 2013 judgement that upheld a 157-year-old colonial-era law called section 377.
That law had deemed gay sex an “unnatural offence.”
But although the 2018 decision identified private, adult, consensual same-sex relationships as a fundamental right, it didn’t translate into absolute, stigma-free social acceptance—and definitely not into the right to marry, which is both a social and legal currency.
“It’s not good enough to say that we’ll leave you alone with 377, now be happy,” Mukul Rohatgi, the advocate arguing on behalf of the petitioners, said in court.
The government, meanwhile, is dissuading the court from passing “omnibus orders” on the matter, arguing that same-sex marriage is a sensitive social issue falling under parliament’s law-making powers.
In a country where even heterosexual couples are under attack from rightwing Hindu organizations when it comes to interfaith and inter-caste marriages, same-sex couples have a long road ahead.