If Laws are Gender Neutral, Then Why are Same-Sex Couples Not Being Able to Register their Marriages in Delhi?

Same-Sex couples have gone to the Delhi High Court seeking recognition of their marriage and recognition as humans with full dignity.

The LGBTQ Community flag march

It was on Wednesday that the Delhi High Court heard petitions that had been filed by two couples. What made these couples special was that both of them were same-sex couples and were facing immense difficulty in having their marriage registered in the country.  The mainstay of the petition was that both these couples wanted to have their marriage registered under the law and to be recognised as human beings in full entity. 

The petition also made an important demand where it asked that the Special Marriage Act 1954 and the Foreign Marriage Act, 1969, which has a provision of allowing “marriages of citizens of India outside India” , be extended in its scope in such a  way that it can now also include the marriage of same sex couples.  

The matter is scheduled to be heard for the next time on January 8, 2021.  The advocate who was appearing for the central government said that the court had not come across any such case earlier and that this was indeed a “peculiar situation” that the court was now forced to deal with. However, the team of advocates appearing for the couples said that any law should be interpreted in the gender-neutral way and that such an appeal was only towards the insurance of the rights of the country’s citizens. The main point which was asserted here was that any law or rule should not discriminate people on the basis of their gender and sexual orientation. 

The couple in question had made an attempt to get married in the month of September and had approached a marriage officer seeking the solemnisation of their marriage under the Special Marriage Act. The couple has asserted that the officer denied registering the marriage and said that the reason why he was opposing the move was that they were unlike a normal couple as both of them belonged to the same sex. 

The couple demands that their marriage be registered was well as the Special Marriage Act be extended to incorporate the solemnising of the marriage of same sex couples.  The other couple too has the same kind of issues about the registration Meanwhile, the Delhi High Court has been hearing another petition that demands rights for the gay marriage community under the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955. This plea has been filed by four members of the LGBTQ + community.

 

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