Must Reads: Legal Recognition of Same-Sex Marriage

DESK BRIEF: Five must-reads that will help you understand the debate surrounding the legalisation of same-sex marriage.

It has been nearly half a decade since the Supreme Court decriminalised same-sex relationships in Navtej Singh Johar v Union of India (2018). Now, the LBGTQIA+ community’s quest for legal and social recognition is set to enter a new chapter. The legal recognition of same-sex marriage. 

Across the board, under various personal laws, marriage has been understood as a union between a man and a woman. On April 18th, 2023, a 5-Judge Constitution Bench SC will begin hearing a batch of petitions challenging the existing marriage laws. SCO presents a curated list of articles that will help you understand the debate surrounding the legalisation of same-sex marriage.   

SCO Shorts: Recognition of Same-Sex Marriage

This edition of SCO Shorts acts as a one-stop shop to learn about the case. SCO focuses on the journey of the case at the Supreme Court of India. This includes the parties in the case, the milestones leading up to the Constitution Bench reference and the possible impact of the decision in this case.

Which countries in the world allow same-sex marriage & through what routes?

Khadija Khan covers the stories of same-sex marriage legalisation in different countries and the approaches that were adopted. In countries such as the USA, Costa Rica and Taiwan the courts took centre stage with landmark decisions paving the way for marriage equality. On the flip side, the Legislatures in countries like Austria, and Germany enacted laws to achieve the same goals. 

Tahir Mahmood on same-sex marriage: Existing matrimonial law should be left exclusively for the ‘sanskaar’ called ‘marriage’

In this Indian Express article, legal scholar, and ex-member of the Law Commission of India Mr. Tahir Mahmood opposes the legal recognition of same-sex marriage. He argues that the law already recognises a same-sex couple’s right to live together. Therefore, there is no need to treat this ‘extraordinary’ relationship as marriage under the existing matrimonial laws of the country. 

As a queer person and a lawyer, I believe it is illegal to deny same-sex couples the right to marry

This article by Rohin Bhatt is a direct response to Mr. Mahmood’s article cited above. Amongst other things, Mr. Bhatt points out Mr. Mahmood’s limited understanding of the plea for same-sex marriage. He expounds on the broader implications of the case for transgender and non-binary persons.

Same-sex marriage gets a push in India, but some in the queer community feel other rights require more urgent attention.

Published in 2020, Poorvi Gupta’s piece on Firstpost highlights the ground realities plaguing the LGBTQIA+ community. Will legal recognition of same-sex marriage address these problems or will more need to be done? Ms. Gupta delves into the discrimination faced by LGBTQIA+ couples and sheds light on the apprehensions of some members of the queer community regarding the possible legalisation of same-sex marriages.