Why India’s supreme court declined to legalize same-sex marriage | DW News

India’s Supreme Court unanimously declined to legalize same-sex marriage on Tuesday, passing the responsibility back to Parliament. “The court cannot grant LGBTQ+ people the right to marry, as that is a legislative exercise,” it said. The long-awaited judgment was a letdown for members and supporters of India’s LGBTQ community, many of whom had gathered outside the court for the decision. Within hours, their dream had soured. “It was a long shot and was always going to be tough for the court to get into this domain,” activist Uday Raj Anand told DW. “But now we must work harder and see that the government-appointed committee looks into granting LGBTQ+ people more rights.”

The New Delhi court did accept an offer from the government to set up a special panel to explore granting social and legal benefits to same-sex couples.The committee will consider measures to address genuine concerns faced by cohabiting same-sex couples in their daily lives, such as joint banking, insurance, pension, property, and admission of children to schools. “The most disappointing thing is that there are no timelines. Being left to the mercy of a government committee with no specific dates is like an endless wait,” gay-rights activist Sharif Rangnekar told DW. India’s Supreme Court recognized transgender people as a third gender in 2014, but Rangnekar pointed out that it took a long time for state governments across India to implement the court’s ruling. “We have seen how long it took state governments to implement the landmark judgment that recognizes transgenders to be the third gender amongst other guidelines to the government,” added Rangnekar. The top court had heard over 20 petitions from same-sex couples and activists in April and May during proceedings that were livestreamed, receiving widespread attention across India. All petitioners sought the legal recognition of same-sex marriages, arguing that the right to marry a person of one’s choice should extend to people in same-sex relationships.

India’s highest court declared in 2018 that consensual intercourse between same-sex adults was no longer a crime in the South Asian country.

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