Supreme Court of India Refuses To Recognize Same-Sex Unions

( – Five years ago, India’s Supreme Court threw out a colonial-era law that prohibited same-sex couples from engaging in sex. The law came with a punishment of up to 10 years in prison. The decision was a major victory for the LGBTQ+ community, and they were hoping to strike gold again in another battle — but they walked away empty-handed.

On October 17, the Indian Supreme Court refused to legalize same-sex marriage. In a unanimous verdict by the five-judge panel, the court decided the legislature must decide what to do about the issue. Each of the judges wrote opinions that accompanied the verdict. Chief Justice D.Y. Chandrachud’s opinion asserted that the high court isn’t in a position to “make law,” their job is to “interpret it and give effect to it.”

The court was also tasked with deciding whether to grant same-sex couples access to services like pensions. Activists have argued that they lack basic rights and don’t have access to the same services that heterosexuals do. Chandrachud and another justice were in favor of granting relief, but the three other justices refused. Ravindra Bhat, one of the opposing judges, said, “The idea of marriage is not a fundamental right.”

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government had argued in court that it wasn’t the high court’s place to legalize the unions. The administration has argued same-sex marriage isn’t “comparable with the Indian family unit concept of a husband, wife, and children.” Modi has rejected several petitions to legalize unions in the world’s most populous country. During the oral arguments, the government argued the petitions to legalize it only reflected “urban elitist views.”

Uday Raj Anand, one of the men who petitioned the court, told Reuters that he didn’t think that he and his same-sex partner would receive a great judgment, but he said the decision “feels much worse than expected.”

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