People's Sexuality Can't Determine If They're Good Or Bad Parents: SC

Dive into the Supreme Court's 3:2 verdict on same-sex adoption and marriage in India. Uncover the debate on LGBTQ+ rights as justices grapple with regulations restricting adoption by same-sex couples.

Oshi Saxena
New Update
States Views On Same-Sex Marriage

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The Supreme Court of India pronounced four judgments, each reflecting the nuanced perspectives of its esteemed members. The crux of the matter revolved around the legal recognition of queer marriages and their right to adopt children.


In a majority decision, the Court held that queer marriages will not receive legal recognition in India. However, the verdict was not unanimous; it was a 3:2 decision, highlighting the complexity and depth of the issue at hand that denies the right of marriage & adoption to queer couples.

Marriage Equality

At the heart of this landmark judgment is the issue of marriage equality. The bench was tasked with the responsibility of determining whether queer couples in India should be granted legal recognition for their unions. Chief Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice SK Kaul, in a majority decision, boldly asserted that the Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) had overstepped its bounds by prohibiting unmarried and queer couples from adopting. They argued that the distinction drawn between married and unmarried couples had no reasonable nexus with CARA's objectives.

CJI Chandrachud proclaimed, "The Union of India has not demonstrated that excluding unmarried couples from adoption serves the best interests of the child. CARA's exclusion of unmarried couples constitutes an unjust infringement on their rights." 

Moreover, the judges highlighted that it would be unjust to assume that unmarried couples, including queer ones, lack seriousness in their relationships. In the absence of concrete evidence demonstrating that only married heterosexual couples can provide stability to a child, they held that Regulation 5(3) of the CARA Guidelines was unconstitutional.

A Progressive View


In their profound judgment, Chief Justice Chandrachud and Justice Kaul heralded a new era of inclusivity. They contended that it was unjust to discriminate against queer couples and emphasized that the law should not assume that only heterosexual couples make good parents. 

This progressive view is reflected in their assertion that "CARA Regulation 5(3) indirectly discriminates against atypical unions. A queer person can adopt only in an individual capacity. This has the effect of reinforcing the discrimination against the queer community." They concluded that "unmarried couples, including queer couples, can jointly adopt a child."

Justice Kaul concurred with this perspective, reinforcing the importance of equal rights and opportunities for all couples, irrespective of their sexual orientation.

A Dissenting View

Justice Bhat, Justice Kohli, and Justice Narasimha offered a contrasting opinion, upholding the constitutionality of CARA regulations that exclude queer and unmarried couples from adoption. Justice Bhat argued that the law should not preclude the possibility that unmarried or non-heterosexual couples could be excellent parents. Their stance rested on the idea that, considering the broader objective of section 57, the state, as the parens patriae, has a responsibility to explore all avenues to ensure that all children in need of stable homes receive the benefits they deserve.

The Supreme Court's verdict on same-sex adoption and marriage in India has elicited mixed reactions and initiated critical discussions on LGBTQ+ rights and discrimination. The legal landscape is evolving, and it is a reminder that the struggle for equality continues. The journey towards a more inclusive society may require legislative changes, but the conversation is essential for progress.

Suggested reading: SC Verdict: No Recognition For Same-Sex Marriage, It's For Legislature To Do So

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