Centre opposes same-sex marriage

Centre opposes same-sex marriage

News: The Centre has opposed same-sex marriage in the Supreme Court, stating that marriage between a biological man and woman is a holy union, a sacrament, and a sanskar in India.

What is Government’s view?
 The government argued that the Court had only decriminalised sexual intercourse between same-sex persons in its 2018 judgement in Navtej Singh Johar v. Union of India, and not legitimised this “conduct”. The court, while decriminalising homosexuality, did not accept same-sex marriage as part of the fundamental right to life and dignity under Article 21 of the Constitution.
 The government argues that marriage depends on customs, rituals, practices, cultural ethos, and societal values. Same-sex marriage cannot be compared to a man and woman living as a family with children born out of the union.
 The Parliament has designed and framed the marriage laws in the country to recognize only the union of a man and a woman. Registration of marriage of same-sex persons would result in a violation of existing personal as well as codified law provisions. The Special Marriage Act of 1954 provides a civil form of marriage for couples who cannot marry under their personal law.
 The government argued that any deviation from this norm can only be made through the legislature, and not the Supreme Court.

What are arguments in favor of same sex marriage?
 All individuals, regardless of their sexual orientation, have the right to marry and form a family.
 Marriage provides social and economic benefits to couples and their families. Allowing same-sex couples to marry strengthens families and communities by promoting stability and security.
 It is globally accepted in many countries and denying similar rights to individuals in India goes against the principles of democracy.

What are arguments against same sex marriage?
 Many religious and cultural groups believe that marriage should only be between a man and a woman.
 Some people argue that the primary purpose of marriage is procreation, and that same-sex couples cannot have biological children.
 Allowing for same sex marriage will create legal hurdles in future based on inheritance, tax, property rights etc.
 It will be challenging to change all laws and regulations to fit the interests of same sex marriage couples.

Way Forward
 Any legislative or judicial decision on same-sex marriage must consider the cultural sensitivities of diverse communities in India at the same time protecting fundamental rights of individuals.
 To begin with education and awareness campaigns should be developed to promote acceptance and understanding of heterosexuality and later on same-sex marriages should be considered. 

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