Is Same-Sex Marriage Going to Be a Reality in India?
15th October 2020
The idea of romance has been more romanticised than the actual feeling of falling in love, all thanks to Bollywood. But, that does not take away from the fact that getting to be with the person of your choice is one of the most fundamental freedoms of life.
The Indian society has come a long way from punishing inter-caste and inter-class love affairs to accepting them to some extent. Though the situation is still far from ideal, courts and judicial pronouncements have been the torchbearer stimulating this long-awaited shift in the social paradigm. The LGBTQ+ community has had to claw their way to even the most basic human rights like equality, right to live with dignity, right to a livelihood, etc.
On the one hand, by heteronormative standards, the right to marry appears to be the next logical step after securing the right to love. However, several queer people in India have questioned whether marriage is what will ultimately end up furthering the LGBTQ+ rights discourse in the country.
Further, though the judgment in Navtej Singh Johar was supposed to usher in a new era of inclusiveness and freedom, even to this date, the heteronormative beliefs and manifestly arbitrary standards of the society refuse to recognise any amorous relationship other than a heteronormative one fully. There has been an ongoing debate about whether marriage is the next step to further the cause of LGBTQ+ rights in India. Still, the argument lacks a crucial perspective by being unidimensional.
The question, though, overwhelmingly pertains to the rights protected under the constitution. Still, the marriage institution contains a hoard of other rights, privileges, and duties that the couple can bestow upon each other if they are a legally married couple.
An illustration of the same is section 122 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872, i.e., a spousal privilege which protects a legally married couple from divulging contents of their conversation while they are married, or section 80-C of the IT Act, 1961, that allows you to make the payment on behalf of your spouse and claim tax exemption, or provisions of the Payment of Gratuity Act, 1972 and other Employee Benefit legislation which only allow legally recognised spouses to collect the gratuity amount and other benefits in cases of an employee’s death. Thus, even though the fight for equality and freedom of the community is undoubtedly first and foremost, getting a chance to get your relationship with the person you love legally recognised for the hordes of benefits that come with it is also not something that should be overlooked forthright.
News Sources: The News Minute
Edited by: Sana Khanam