The Supreme Court of India on April 18 began hearing a series of petitions seeking solemnisation of same-sex marriage under the Special Marriage Act. The Special Marriage Act of 1954 provides a civil form of marriage for couples who cannot marry under their personal law.
The main petitioners of the case, Supriyo and Abhay Dang, argue that the non-recognition of same-sex marriage amounts to discrimination that strikes at the root of dignity and self-fulfillment of LGBTQIA+ couples.
Meanwhile, the Centre has maintained its stance against marriage equality, invoking the “accepted view” that a marriage between a biological man and woman is a “holy union, a sacrament and a sanskar” in India. In its submission to the Supreme Court, the BJP-led government has called this petition, a voicing of “urban elitist views”. The judges should leave the task to the Parliament, the people would decide whether such a “marriage of a different kind” is socially and religiously acceptable or not, the Centre said.
The petitioners have argued that the court need not wait for the Parliament to legislate to fill up a vacuum. The provisions of the Special Marriage Act, insofar as they do not recognise same sex marriages, were unconstitutional. The court could act as the ‘north star’. The petitioners submitted their closing arguments on April 26, following which the Centre will respond before the Supreme Court.