The Supreme Court of India has declined to legalise same-sex marriage, with three justices of the five-judge bench maintaining that the decision comes under the purview of the legislature.
The petitioners had argued for a gender-neutral interpretation of the Special Marriages Act, which was designed as a legal framework to facilitate inter-caste and inter-faith marriages in India.
Udit Sood, one of the petitioners in the case, was hopeful prior to the judgement being read, stating to the media, “It has been such a long journey and we stand on the shoulders of so many queer rights activists who came before us. Even five years ago, the idea of marriage equality seemed almost impossible, but today we are so close to it.”
The parties opposing the petition included the Central government, the national child rights body NCPCR, and a body of Islamic scholars called the Jamiat-Ulama-i-Hind. Several minority religious organisations have always opposed this petition, citing homosexual marriages as “unnatural” and “against religion.”
However, the Supreme Court directed the government to ensure that the rights of the queer people were not infringed in any way, it still maintained in a 3-2 judgement that it is not within the power of the Court to do so and the purview still lies with the legislature to bring this into law.