Supreme Court on 17 October 2023 refuses to legalize same-sex marriage, leaving this matter in the hands of the parliament. The judges unanimously agreed that it would not be possible to change the Special Marriage Act, of 1954 by using gender-neutral language to allow same-sex marriage. The CJI points out that striking down the provisions of the act would shake the legal framework for interfaith and inert-caste marriage.
CJI stresses the point that the court cannot make a law, it can only interpret it. The gender of a person is not the same as their sexuality. The ‘queer’ is a natural phenomenon known to Indians for ages. It is neither urban nor elitist.
Supreme Court Judges voting on same-sex marriage
With 3 of 5 votes, Supreme Court judges say ‘no’ to adoption rights for queer couples. The Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud and Justice SK Kaul acknowledged the adoption right for unmarried and queer couples by highlighting that regulation 5(3) of the Adoption Regulations as framed by the Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) violated Article 15 of the Indian constitution. It is discriminatory against the queer community. Whereas it was dissented by Justice S Ravindra Bhat, Justice PS Narasimha, and Justice Hima Kholi.
The new Supreme Court verdict comes after the historical verdict of 2018 of decriminalizing Section 377 of IPC. The five-judge constitutional bench headed by CJI D Y Chandrachud with other members of the bench includes Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul, S Ravindra Bhat, Hima Kholi, and PS Narasimha.
Section 377 of IPC
Section 377 of IPC was introduced by the British ruler in India in the year 1861 to criminalize homosexuality in India. It was called an ‘unnatural offense’ and the punishment for this was imprisonment for life. On 8 September 2018 Supreme Court decriminalized section 377 of IPC stating that consensual gay sex is not a crime. This was a life-changing verdict for the LGBTQ+ community in India.
What is ‘LGTBQ+’?
LGBTQ+ is a short abbreviation for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer adding on to
questioning, asexual, intersex, and more. These terms are used to speak of an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity. The ‘+’ sign here depicts the fact that one acronym or abbreviation can’t capture everyone’s experience or expression of their gender identity or sexual orientation. For the past few years, the ‘LGBTQ+ community’ has been used as an umbrella term to denote someone who is not heterosexual.
Looking forward to the 17 October 2023 Supreme Court verdict on same-sex marriage, most of the people of LGBTQ+ community is not satisfied.