India may become the largest country to legalize same-sex marriage. India’s more than 2.5 million LGBTQ and intersex people are looking at the country’s Supreme Court with great hopes because it will hold another hearing on marriage equality on April 18.
The Supreme Court last December 14 asked the Indian government to respond to two petitions seeking a transfer of marriage equality petitions before the Delhi High Court to itself. The government on March 12 filed a response to the Supreme Court.
The government opposed legal recognition of same-sex marriage and told the highest court that same-sex couples living together as partners and having a sexual relationship with the same sex individual, which is now decriminalized, is not comparable with Indian family unit: a husband, a wife and a child born out of the union.
According to the response filed by the government in the high court, the institution of marriage is crucial in India. It provides a sense of safety, security and companionship for the members of society. It plays a crucial role in the rearing of children and impacts their upbringing.
The Indian Constitution gives equal rights to everybody. You cannot differentiate based on the gender of the people. Besides, the Supreme Court in 2018 struck down Section 377, a colonial-era law that criminalized homosexuality in India.
If the court rules in favour of legalizing same-sex marriage, it will be a landmark moment for LGBTQ people in India and the entire world. The majority of the 34 countries and territories that have already enacted marriage equality laws are in the Americas and Europe, so a positive outcome in India could influence laws elsewhere in the region.
It is time India!!!