Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government resists recognizing same-sex marriage – court documents | world news

The Indian government is pushing back on an attempt by activists to gain legal recognition of same-sex marriage, according to reports.

Officials have urged the court to dismiss challenges to the current legal framework filed by LGBT couples, Reuters news agency reported, which saw a case submitted to the Supreme Court on Sunday.

The Department of Justice believes that while relationships in society can manifest themselves in different forms, legal recognition of marriage should be reserved for heterosexual relationships only, and the state has a legitimate interest in maintaining it.

“Living together as partners and having sex with people of the same sex…is not comparable to the concept of the Indian family unit of a husband, wife and children,” argued the ministry in documents seen by the Reuters news agency but have not been made public.

The court cannot be asked “to change the entire legislative policy of the country that is deeply rooted in religious and societal norms,” he said.

India’s top court decriminalized homosexuality in a landmark verdict in 2018 by removing a colonial-era ban on gay sex, after years of activism and lobbying.

The latest case is seen as a milestone in the development of LGBT rights in India, where 1.4 billion people live.

The question is still very sensitive: talking openly about homosexuality is still taboo for many in this socially conservative country.

At least 15 pleas, some from same-sex couples, asking the court to recognize same-sex marriages have been filed in recent months, paving the way for this legal face-off with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government.

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What other countries have legalized same-sex marriage?

Same-sex marriage is not as widely recognized in Asia as it is in the West.

Taiwan was the first in the region to recognize such marriage, while other countries like Malaysia still criminalize same-sex acts.

Last year, Singapore ended a ban on same-sex relationships, but moved to ban same-sex marriages.

Japan is the only country among the Group of Seven (G7) countries that does not legally recognize same-sex unions, although the public is broadly supportive of such recognition.

In India, the issue has fueled tensions in the media and in parliament, where a member of Modi’s ruling Hindu nationalist party in December called on the government to strongly oppose petitions filed in the highest court.

LGBTQ+ activists argue that while the 2018 ruling affirmed their constitutional rights, it is unfair that they are still denied legal support for their marriages – a fundamental right enjoyed by heterosexual married couples.

“We can’t do so much in the process of living together and building a life together,” one of the litigants in the current case, businessman Uday Raj Anand, told Reuters in December. .

FILE PHOTO: Parth Phiroze Mehrotra, 36, and her partner Uday Raj Anand, 35, smile as they pose for a photo at their home in New Delhi, India December 18, 2022. REUTERS/Anushree Fadnavis/File Photo
Uday Raj Anand, one of the litigants in the case, lives with his partner Parth Phiroze Mehrotra in New Delhi

In Sunday’s filing, the government argued that the 2018 ruling could not signify the recognition of a fundamental legal right to same-sex marriage under the laws of the land.

The intent behind the current marriage legal system “was limited to the recognition of a legal relationship of marriage between a man and a woman, represented as husband and wife.”

The government has argued that changes to the legal structure should be left to the elected parliament rather than the court.

The cases are due to be heard in the Supreme Court on Monday.

If India were to approve same-sex marriage, it would become the 33rd country to do so, according to the Human Rights Campaign.


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