India’s Supreme Court has begun hearing petitions filed by dozens of LGBTQ people seeking the legalization of same-sex marriage. The hearings, which are being broadcast live, have opened a wide debate on the issue in a country that is still considered conservative on issues of sexuality. Just five years ago, the Supreme Court decriminalized homosexual acts in India. Now, some of the country’s best-known lawyers are defending the right to equal marriage before a five-judge panel on a constitutional bench.
One of the lawyers argues that same-sex couples deserve the same marriage and family institutions as heterosexual couples because these institutions are highly valued in Indian culture. He believes that granting these institutions to same-sex couples would give them official recognition by the state and end the stigma they still face.
The hearings have generated strong opposition from some quarters, who believe that the Indian family institution will be threatened and that future children of same-sex couples could suffer. Government counsel also opposes the legalization of same-sex marriage, arguing that it is an “elitist and urbane” demand. However, the Chief Justice has refuted these arguments and stated that there is no data to support the claim that this lawsuit is elitist and urbane.
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