India: Larger bench to legalize gay marriage

New Delhi: A larger bench has been constituted on the issue of legalization of same-sex marriage in India.

According to Indian media, the Supreme Court also referred the pleas to legalize same-sex marriage to a larger bench of five judges, where the case was heard next month.

If the larger bench legalizes same-sex marriage, India will become the second country in Asia after Taiwan to grant the right to same-sex marriage.

It should be remembered that homosexuality was punishable by 10 years in prison under Section 377 of the British law in India, however, the campaign to repeal this section was ongoing since 1990.

In 2009, a New Delhi court decriminalized homosexuality, but the Supreme Court overturned the decision in 2013, saying that changes in the constitution could only be made by parliament.

Later in 2018, a 5-judge bench of the Supreme Court of India struck down Section 377 after a long debate on the crucial issue, after which homosexuality became unpunishable and no longer a non-bailable offence.

Since this decision, the Supreme Court has received several petitions to legalize same-sex marriage, on which the Modi government has also submitted its position in the court.

The Modi government’s affidavit stated that they are against the legalization of same-sex marriage and that it is not within the jurisdiction of the court to make a decision on it, but it can only be legislated in the parliament.

The affidavit further stated that in Hinduism family consists of biological male and female. Same is the case in other religions. Homosexual marriage will destroy the family system.

After hearing the Indian government’s position, the Supreme Court referred the matter to a five-member bench.

It should be noted that more than 300,000 same-sex couples have been married in India so far, but most of the time they are scolded by the pundits and priests who perform the marriage.

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