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Same Sex Marriage

The topic of same-sex marriage has generated controversy all across the world, and India is no different. In India, the legal environment relating to same-sex marriage and LGBTQ+ rights has changed substantially in recent years. This article will examine the legal ramifications of same-sex marriage in the country with an emphasis on current court rulings and pertinent legal provisions.

Historical Background

With roots in ancient norms and rituals, Indian culture generally holds conservative views on marriage. Most same-sex partnerships were stigmatised, and the legal system did not recognise or defend LGBTQ+ relationships.

Union of India v. Navtej Singh Johar (2018):

With this historic decision, the Supreme Court of India essentially struck down Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code and decriminalised consensual gay activities. Even while same-sex marriage was not specifically addressed in this ruling, it set the stage for equality for LGBTQ+ people in India.

Arif Jafar v. State of Uttar Pradesh (2020):

The High Court of Allahabad acknowledged the legal right of couples of the same sex to cohabitate in this case. This judgment respected the liberty and privacy of people in consensual relationships but did not expressly allow same-sex marriage.

Sections under Indian law:

Indian Penal Code (IPC): The provision of section 377 of the IPC, deeming consenting to homosexual conduct a crime, is no longer in effect as a result of a Navtej Singh Johar ruling. Decriminalisation was a big step in the right direction for LGBTQ+ people.

Special Marriage Act, 1954: The legislation known as the Special Marriage Act removes all religious barriers from marriages between people of various religions or beliefs. Although it doesn’t specifically mention same-sex marriage, it offers a way for LGBTQ+ couples to legally recognise their relationships.

Hindu Marriage Act, 1955: Even though same-sex unions are not acknowledged under the Hindu Marriage Act, it defines marriage in terms of Hindu law. Although same-sex marriage inclusion amendments have been suggested, they have not yet been put into effect.

Foreign Marriage Act, 1969: By virtue of this law, Indian nationals may wed foreigners outside of India. It does not specifically reference same-sex marriage, but it does allow LGBTQ+ couples to legally bind their unions outside of India and have them recognised there


Despite recent advancements, there are still several obstacles for LGBTQ+ people looking for gay marriage in India:

Legal Recognition Absent: 

Due to the lack of formal recognition of same-sex weddings in Indian law, LGBTQ+ couples have difficulties with the process of inheritance, rights to property, and adoption.

Social Disgrace:

In India, there are still pervasive social biases against same-sex partnerships. LGBTQ+ people frequently experience prejudice, abuse, and isolation from their relatives and communities. This societal stigma may discourage some couples from publicly seeking marriage and the privileges and advantages that come with it.

Religious Opposition:

Indian conservative religious organisations adamantly reject same-sex unions for ethical reasons. It is a complicated and divisive topic because of their opposition, which can affect public opinion and obstruct legislative reform initiatives.

Political Apathy:

Political will and backing are necessary to pass legislation recognising same-sex unions. Positive changes have been made in the legal field, although substantial legislative improvements have not yet been implemented. Politics may be divisive, and some legislators may be reluctant to take a position on LGBTQ+ topics.

Access to Legal Services:

Accessing legal assistance catered to their specific requirements might be challenging for LGBTQ+ people. The ability to seek legal recourse may be hampered by the lack of proper training or sensitivity among lawyers and other legal professionals to LGBTQ+ problems.

Intersecting Discrimination:

The difficulties faced by LGBTQ+ people may be made worse by prejudice caused by their gender identity, religion, caste, or socioeconomic background. The persecution faced by LGBTQ+ populations in India is largely influenced by intersectionality.


While India has made progress in decriminalising homosexuality and recognising the rights of LGBTQ+ people, the subject of same-sex unions is still being worked on. Recent rulings and legal developments have opened the door for conversations on marriage equality, but significant legislative reforms are still required to provide same-sex couples legal recognition and protection. Future advancements in the area of LGBTQ+ rights in the country must be closely monitored as the legal environment changes.

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