Centre opposes plea seeking same-sex marriage recognition, cites ‘Indian Culture’

The Central Government Monday opposed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeking directions to recognise same-sex marriages under the Hindu Marriage Act.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, for the Centre, submitted that the concept of same-sex marriage is not recognised under Indian culture or under Indian law.

The Court was hearing a PIL filed by members of the LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer, and others) community.

A division bench of the Court Chief Justice D.N. Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan remarked that the court needs to see the matter with an open mind and changes are happening across the world.

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Advocate Raghav Awasthi, for the petitioners, informed the Court that there had been instances when gay couples had got married but were not allowed to register it.

The Court asked the petitioners to bring on record the names of the LGBTQ community who were refused registration of their marriage.

The matter will now be heard on October 21.

Abhijit Iyer Mitra, a member of the LGBT community, Gopi Shankar M, a Tamil Nadu-based intersex activist, Giti Thandani, founder member of Sakhi Collective Journal of Contemporary and Historical Lesbian Life in India and G. Oorvasi, a transgender activist, were the petitioners.

In their plea, they asserted that the Hindu Marriage Act “does not distinguish between heterosexual and homosexual marriage”.

This, the plea said, is because Section 5 of the Act lays down the conditions for a Hindu marriage and begins with the words, “a marriage may be solemnised between any two Hindus”.

Earlier the Kerala High Court had issued a notice on a plea filed by a married gay a couple from Thrissur, challenging the provisions of the Special Marriage Act, 1954 to get permission to register their marriage.