Love Remains Hopeful: Petitioners On SC's Same-Sex Marriage Verdict

SheThePeople brings in heartfelt narratives of the LGBTQ+ community members as they share their diverse perspectives on the same-sex marriage verdict. From personal stories of discrimination to hopes for a brighter future, their voices shine through

Oshi Saxena
New Update
India's LGBT community

(Photo credit: AFP)

The recent Supreme Court verdict on same-sex marriage in India has ignited a spectrum of emotions within the LGBTQ+ community. This landmark decision met with mixed reactions, has left many members of the community in a state of turmoil. While some see it as a step in the right direction, others are deeply disappointed by the court's failure to recognise same-sex marriages.

SheThePeople had the privilege of speaking with a diverse group of individuals from the LGBTQ+ community, each sharing their unique perspectives on the verdict, their personal experiences with discrimination, and their hopes for the future.


Sameer, a Petitioner for Marriage Equality in India, expressed his emotions:

“I'm frustrated, I'm disappointed, I'm sad. I'm angry about this judgment. And we had a lot of hopes from the judiciary and from the Supreme Court, but we feel like they let us down. But having said that, we will continue to fight. We will definitely not lose the momentum that is being built. We will definitely ensure that the future generations of India will get these rights."

Sameer's words encapsulate the collective sentiment of many LGBTQ+ individuals in India. While the verdict left them disheartened, it hasn't extinguished their determination to fight for equal rights.

 He also disagreed with comparing India's progress to the West, advocating for India to be a leader in LGBTQ rights. Chief Justice Chandrachud's more inclusive stance was noted by Sameer and others in the LGBTQ community. His emphasis on the fact that LGBTQ rights are not an urban or Western concept resonated positively. Chandrachud's stance on issues like joint accounts, property rights, and adoption for same-sex couples was welcomed. However, the community was disappointed that his progressive perspective didn't entirely sway the judgment.

Sameer recounted personal experiences of discrimination, including as basic as "being denied family discounts at a local gym due to the lack of legal recognition." 

His hope lies in channelling the frustration and anger constructively, increasing awareness, and challenging the status quo, highlighting that the Supreme Court's judgment will not deter the community from living their true selves.


Parag Mehta & Vaibhav Jain, Petitioners for Marriage Equality in India, reflected on the court's role and future action:

“This is yet another reminder that elections matter and judicial appointments have consequences."

Parag and Vaibhav acknowledge the role of elections and judicial appointments in shaping the direction of LGBTQ+ rights in India, emphasising the importance of continued activism. They pointed out that India has chosen to disregard its own laws by failing to recognize their marriage, which is a direct contradiction of the Foreign Marriage Act of 1969. The Chief Judge's commendable statements about LGBTQ+ experiences were appreciated, but words alone are insufficient without action.

Dr. Surabhi Mitra, another petitioner, expressed her mixed emotions and the need for change:

"So we would be working towards it more rigorously. More rigorously. And let's see what happens in the coming years.”

Dr Surabhi Mitra, alongside her partner Paromita, offers a detailed breakdown of the verdict. She is disheartened by the court's reluctance to call it a civil union or marriage. Despite some positive aspects, such as joint accounts, property sharing, and access to mental health care, she questions the implementation of these measures and highlights the hurdles faced by transgender individuals in securing equal rights. 


She highlights the need for more detailed measures and clear timelines for implementation, along with the involvement of LGBTQ+ representatives in the process and calls for advocacy towards political leaders, especially in the upcoming elections.

Vanya Sharma, a Bisexual individual, voiced her concerns:

“Today's SC judgement pushes queer people back into the closet. When the law and the government can't stand up for a community, we cannot expect a social change either.”

Vanya's words echo the fear that many in the LGBTQ+ community share. The verdict, in their view, risks driving them back into the closet, making them more vulnerable to discrimination and violence.  She also recounted personal experiences of ignorance and discrimination, including a disturbing workplace conversation that forced her to leave her job.

She emphasised the need for real representation in parliament and education on gender and sexuality. 

Mayank Chaudhary, a Gay Fashion Designer and Stylist, expressed his mixed feelings:


“To be honest, I was very hopeful and excited as I woke up feeling, yes today is a day we as the country will make history and what a joyous moment to experience this... And of course, as respected CJI statements started to roll in, it left me feeling very confused and ultimately unsure as to where we stand."

Mayank reflects the rollercoaster of emotions many felt, starting the day with hope and ending with uncertainty. The verdict left them questioning their place in a society that still struggles to fully embrace LGBTQ+ individuals. He expresses disappointment in the Supreme Court's judgment, perceiving it as a mere "lip service" to appease certain political elements in society. "Surface-level representation may do more harm than good", Mayank believes that deeper education and awareness about gender and sexuality are crucial to fostering inclusivity and acceptance.

Vishal Pinjani, Mr. Gay World India 2023, shared his disappointment and resolve:

“I am very disappointed... We will start conversing with the politicians, and start engaging with politicians and do whatever it takes to achieve equal rights.”

Vishal's disappointment is clear, but he remains resolute in his belief that change is possible through political engagement and persistence. Despite the setback, he remains committed to their work of spreading love and acceptance, dismantling barriers, and advocating for a society, "where everyone can live freely and love fiercely."

Shruti, a stand-up comedian and Queer Affirmative Therapist

As Shruti  aptly puts it, "Though, as a queer person, I have learnt to not be too hopeful and always be prepared for being deprived of essential rights given the current context of our society, this time I am left feeling disappointed and betrayed, as perhaps a tiny part of me was striving to be hopeful."

As a Queer Affirmative Therapist, Shruti works with queer and trans clients from diverse backgrounds. She emphasises that assuming homosexuality doesn't exist in villages or underprivileged sections of society denies the existence of millions of citizens in the country. Love and desire are universal, transcending class, caste, religion, and education boundaries.

She also stresses that a child's well-being depends on a safe, secure, loving, and playful environment, regardless of the gender or sexual orientation of the parents. 

Yash Sharma, the founder of 'Official Humans of Queer', Looking to the Future: Hope and Challenges

Yash's disappointment with the verdict ran deep, as it failed to offer the significant support and recognition that both he and his partner had yearned for. He confided, "This was particularly crucial for my partner, who serves in the Indian defence. It was his sole  hope to live authentically and openly, unburdened by the prevailing homophobic atmosphere that currently envelops him."

Yash highlighted the fear that still persists among LGBTQ+ individuals, as they must often hide their true selves to avoid eviction or public shaming, “Well, it’s a everyday thing to be subjected to mockery on social media. And that’s what I am fearing, this judgement has exposed us to be more vulnerable for those laughs. I have never seen a straight person justifying their idea of love but we have to do it every day, in every public space.”

Following the verdict, he vividly remembers the overwhelming sense of disappointment that washed over him. It seemed as though their hopes for a better future in their country had been dashed. However, at that moment, the words of his partner resonated deeply, "Paper or not, we will be married." These simple yet profound words breathed new life into his hope, reaffirming the strength of their love and commitment, transcending any legal document or societal barrier.

The Supreme Court's verdict on same-sex marriage and right to adoption in India left a range of emotions within the LGBTQ+ community, from disappointment and frustration to resilience and hope. While the road to achieving full equality remains long and challenging, these voices emphasize the importance of continued activism, legal changes, and political engagement.  

The final words of  Parag Mehta & Vaibhav Jain perhaps capture the essence of this ongoing struggle: “Progress doesn’t happen in a moment. It happens in a movement.” The movement for LGBTQ+ rights in India continues, undeterred by the obstacles it faces, with the hope that, one day, love will indeed conquer all, regardless of gender or sexual orientation.

Views expressed by the author are their own

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SC Same Sex Marriage Verdict