Menaka Guruswamy makes her stand at the Supreme Court arguing strongly in favour of same-sex marriage. The arguments shared by Guruswamy reflected the reality of the vulnerable queer community and the rights they are devoid of.
Same-sex marriage is not the only right that is denied to the queer community in India. As rightly pointed out by Guruswamy a lot of other rights are protected and guaranteed under the institution of marriage. As a result, the queer community does not have access to those basic rights.
Menaka Guruswamy's arguments beg the realisation that the queer community is not just devoid of the right to equality enlisted in Article 14 of the constitution, but also Article 21. Article 21, also a fundamental right guarantees the right to live a dignified life to every Indian citizen.
Menaka Guruswamy Makes Her Stand At The Supreme Court With A Strong Line Of Thought Provoking Arguments
Guruswamy argues that queer people cannot avail the same rights that heterosexual married couples avail. For instance, insurance is not a right that the queer community can avail of as queer marriage is outlawed in India.
“The LGBTQ should have a right to a life of dignity and to the institution of marriage and family which is available to others.” Senior advocate Menaka Guruswamy stated that marriage is “not only a question of dignity but a bouquet of rights that LGBTQ people are being denied post-Johar (Navtej Johar vs Union of India), like life insurance or medical insurance.”
The petitioners have stated that they are seeking the provisions of the Special Marriage Act, 1954, to read marriage as between “spouse” instead of “man and woman”, and that he won’t be going into the ambit of personal laws.
Married queer couples will not be able to nominate their spouses for life insurance as only heterosexual marriages are afforded that privilege.
So only legalising same-sex marriages without giving them the same civic amenities that heterosexual married couples enjoy is redundant. Bank accounts, medical insurance, life insurance, and all other amenities that are protected under the umbrella of marriage need to be available to same-sex persons post their marriage.
Without the aforementioned, Menaka Guruswamy persists that she and Kirpal will have to keep coming back to court for litigation of cases of individual discrimination.
Guruswamy puts forward that the legal framework therefore will need to pro these aspects guaranteed under marriage while deliberating on same-sex marriage.
Menaka Guruswamy previously represented members of the LGBTQ+ community in the fight to decriminalise homosexuality. Guruswamy and advocate Arundhati Katju worked on decriminalising homosexuality and admitted that the landmark decision to strike down Section 377 was a personal win and a professional benchmark.
The two advocates also revealed that they were a couple.