‘Same-Sex Relationships Not Comparable With Indian Family Unit Concept’: Centre To HC

Bipartisan Support for Same Sex Marriage
Same-sex marriages: Opposing petitions seeking recognition of same-sex marriages, the central government told Delhi High Court that same-sex partners living together and having sexual relationships are not comparable with the Indian family unit concept of a husband, wife and children.

In their response to the petitions under Hindu Marriage Act, Foreign Marriage Act and Special Marriage Act, the Centre told High Court, “By and large the institution of marriage has a sanctity attached to it and in major parts of the country, it is regarded as a sacrament.”

They added,” In our country, despite statutory recognition of the relationship of marriage between a biological man and a biological woman, marriage necessarily depends upon age-old customs, rituals, practices, cultural ethos and societal values.”

The Centre also told the court that petitioners cannot claim a fundamental right for same-sex despite that decriminalisation of Section 377 of Indian Penal Code by the Supreme Court and that Article 21 is subject to the procedure established by law and “the same cannot be expanded to extend to include the fundamental right for a same-sex marriage to be recognised under the laws of the country which in fact mandate the contrary.”

They also said that the legal recognition of marriage is “essentially a question to be decided by the legislature and can never be a subject matter of judicial adjunction.” The centre pressed that marriage in India is a “solemn institution” between a biological man and a biological woman. According to the centre, marriage between two people is not a private matter but public recognition of a relationship attached with “several statutory rights and obligations are attached”

Same-sex couples. Dr Kavita Arora and Ankita Khanna are one of the petitioners who sought recognition of same-sex marriage after their marriage application was rejected by the Marriage Officer in Kalkaji, Delhi. Other petitioners are Vaibhav Jain, an Indian citizen and Parag Vijay Mehta, an OCI cardholder who had married each other in Washington DC in 2017 but failed to get registration of marriage under the Foreign Marriage Act at the Consulate General of India in New York.

The government of India said that it is “not permissible of the Hon’ble Court to override” the legislative intent that limits legal recognition of marriage to heterosexual couples. The Delhi High Court had earlier sought the Centre’s response on the legalisation of same-sex marriages. Read more about it here