“Same-Sex Relationships Not Just Physical”: Chief Justice
“[Legalising same-sex marriage] requires us to redefine the evolving notion of marriage,” Chief Justice DY Chandrachud asked on Thursday.
New Delhi: Are two spouses who belong to a binary gender essential for marriage, Chief Justice DY Chandrachud asked on Thursday, as the Supreme Court heard arguments on legalising same-sex marriages.
“We see these [same-sex] relationships not just as physical relations but something more of a stable, emotional relationship,” Justice Chandrachud said on the third day of the hearing by a five-judge bench that is being live-streamed on the court website and YouTube.
“[Legalising same-sex marriage] requires us to redefine the evolving notion of marriage. Because is the existence of two spouses who belong to a binary gender a necessary requirement for marriage?” he asked.
He noted that the law has evolved significantly in the last 69 years since the enactment of the Special Marriage Act in 1954, which provided a form of civil marriage for people who did not want to follow their personal laws.
“And by decriminalizing homosexuality, we have not just recognised treating relationships between consenting adults of the same gender, but we’ve also recognised that people who are of the same sex would even be in stable relationships,” he said, referring to the landmark 2018 order.
The telling comments by the Chief Justice come amid opposition by the government to the reform, which has called the appeals “urban elitist views” and said that parliament is the right platform to debate the matter.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has challenged the appeals, including some by gay couples, on the grounds that same-sex marriages are not “comparable with the Indian family unit concept of a husband, a wife and children”.
“The petitions, which merely reflect urban elitist views, cannot be compared with the appropriate legislature which reflects the views and voices of a far wider spectrum and expands across the country,” the government said in a filing to the Supreme Court on Sunday.
At least 15 appeals have been filed with the court in recent months stating that without legal recognition, many same-sex couples could not exercise rights such as those linked to medical consent, pensions, adoption or even club memberships.