Have LGBTQ Rights Become A Dining Table Conversation In India?
On Tuesday, the Supreme Court of India declined to legally recognise same-sex unions in a verdict that also emphasises the rights of the minority community to be free of discrimination.
Dozens of activists gathered outside the top court while the landmark ruling was being read. While some welcomed the judgement as a progressive one, others said it wasn’t good enough.
India’s chief justice DY Chandrachud told the government to ensure the “queer community is not discriminated against because of their gender identity or sexual orientation.”
Accessing Legal Benefits Attached To Matrimony
The verdict arrived five years after a 2018 judgement, when the Supreme Court struck down a ban on gay sex – but left intact the legislation limiting marriage to heterosexual couples.
India’s marriage laws prohibit LGBTQ couples in the country from accessing legal benefits attached to matrimony in relation to matters including adoption and inheritance.
The top court has now asked the government to form a committee in order to grant rights relating to adoption and succession, among others, to queer couples.
Acceptance For Homosexuality On The Rise
While India has a large LGBTQ community and celebrates gay pride across a number of cities, the history concerning attitudes toward same-sex relationships has always been tumultuous.
Acceptance for homosexuality has been increasing. According to a Pew survey published in June, 53% people in the country now support homosexuality, representing a 38% rise from 2014.
Still, conservatives within India showcase opposition to same-sex marriages. The Supreme Court’s latest verdict on LGBTQ rights appears to have deepened the debate.
“Open And Safe Discussion Around Queer Rights”
Same-sex unions continue to divide opinions nationwide, with some opposing the idea in the name of shielding the institution of marriage from harm.
Nonetheless, some in the queer community said the court ruling is encouraging because it does recognise some rights for them. Utkarsh Saxena noted there has been progress.
The same-sex union petitioner said: “When I was growing up as a queer kid in India, I would have never imagined a day when there would be such an open … discussion around queer rights.”