NEW DELHI: The Indian government opposes recognising same-sex marriages, it said in a filing to the Supreme Court on Sunday (Mar 12), urging the court to reject challenges to the current legal framework lodged by lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) couples.
The Ministry of Law believes that while there may be various forms of relationships in society, the legal recognition of marriage is for heterosexual relationships and the state has a legitimate interest in maintaining this, according to the filing seen by Reuters, which has not been made public.
“Living together as partners and having sexual relationship by same sex individuals … is not comparable with the Indian family unit concept of a husband, a wife and children,” the ministry argued.
The court cannot be asked “to change the entire legislative policy of the country deeply embedded in religious and societal norms”, it said.
In a historic verdict in 2018, India’s top court decriminalised homosexuality by scrapping a colonial-era ban on gay sex. The current case is being seen as a further important development on LGBT rights in the country.
At least 15 pleas, some by gay couples, have been filed in recent months asking the court to recognise same-sex marriages, setting the stage for this legal face-off with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government.
CASE MARKS MILESTONE
Asia largely lags the West in accepting same-sex marriage.
Taiwan was the first in the region to recognise such unions, while same-sex acts are illegal in some countries, such as Malaysia. Singapore last year ended a ban on gay sex but took steps to bar same-sex marriages.
Japan is the only country among the Group of Seven nations that does not legally recognise same-sex unions, although the public broadly favours recognition.
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