Did you know that gay marriage is now before a High Court in India? I was delighted to learn that Menaka Guruswamy and her partner Arundati Katju, the brilliant lesbian attorneys who won the 2018 Section 377 case, have moved gay marriage to the courts and hope to win.
Our work for gay rights in the US has helped to spread LGBT freedoms to India. In the Section 377 case, decided by the Indian Supreme Court in 2018, the Court decriminalized homosexuality. The court’s decision cited, among other cases, the US Supreme Court 2015 decision allowing gay marriage. And the basis of the ruling were the individual freedoms contained in the Indian constitution, including the right to privacy. Thank goodness for the US and the Indian Constitutions!
Now it’s time for gay marriage in India. It seems improbable but very possible! Marriage is sacrosanct in India, more so than the US. Getting married is always expected, and marriage cements families together and keeps castes apart. Because India is so religious, the Indian Constitution allows religion to govern marriage, at least within certain parameters that protect women’s rights. Studying family law in India is highly complex because of all these religious variations and secular marriages as well. One could argue that with all this variety, why not add gay marriage to the mix?
The Court was to hear various petitions related to this issue argued in February, but apparently the arguments were rescheduled. I’ll report on that when the news comes out. If LGBT rights prevail and if the government appeals, the case would then head to the Supreme Court. Who represented homophobia in the Section 377 case before the Supreme Court in 2018? Interestingly, it wasn’t Modi’s government! Instead, it was religious groups. It will be very interesting to see what the Modi government argues in the gay marriage case.
Bravo to the courageous men and women who are the petitioners in these cases and are pushing the boundaries of traditional Indian society!