Legal recognition/ registration of Indian LGBTQIA+ marriages #conQUEERingLegalRights

Legal recognition/ registration of Indian LGBTQIA+ marriages #conQUEERingLegalRights

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Shrushti Mane started this petition to Shri Kiren Rijiju (Ministry of Law and Justice of India) and

"With the Constitution in our hearts, we go to our Court, to seek to remove a colonial stain on our collective national conscience. This is love that must be Constitutionally recognized and not just the sexual acts".

- Adv. Menaka Guruswamy. 


It was 24th May 2021, I couldn't help but constantly stare at my screen's news tab, anxiously waiting to hear for a positive affirming stance from the Central government in the Delhi High Court on the petition hearing of legalization of LGBTQIA+ marriages.

In response to a series of PIL' s filed by multiple citizens seeking legalization of same-sex marriages/ LGBTQIA+ marriages under the Special Marriage Act of 1954 (SMA) and other on Foreign Marriage Act of 1969 (FMA), the Centre responded: “Nobody is dying because of the lack of marriage registration”. We, citizens, approach the court not because we are dying without a right, but because our living circumstances are atrocious without that right. LGBTQIA+ couples live in fear for the most part of their lives. I want to feel safe and free walking down the streets of our country, holding the hand of the person I love.

I’ve spent most of my teenage years in the closet and so did Millions of LGBTQIA+ Indians, Lakhs of citizens still do. Growing up, identifying as LGBTQ+ individuals in our society is violent and traumatic. In 2018, when the Supreme Court of India decriminalized homosexuality by striking down Sec 377 of the IPC, it was a sigh of relief. However, the recent stance taken by the Central government in the Delhi High court has made us introspect to realize if we are anywhere near an LGBTQIA+ inclusive Indian society?

While my partner and I are able to live openly as a queer couple today, however, this doesn’t give us or our future heirs a legal right to inherit/gift properties, nominate our partner/spouse in insurance, pension, gratuity papers, and receive a pension in case of death or disability of our partner/spouse. While these basic legal rights are non-negotiable for heterosexual couples, why deprive us, LGBTQIA+ couples of them? Do we not deserve the same security and heterosexual couples?

Recognition of marriage by society and the state is a fundamental right for all citizens and not a legal privilege entitled to only Indian heterosexual couples. Love is a human experience; it has been decades of long-drawn injustice on LGBTQIA+ couples of our country who are ripped off of legal rights to a dignified life and personal liberty. The non-recognition of LGBTQ+ marriages by the Centre is violative under the provision of the Constitution of India and defeats its morality. The laws must not dictate the expression of marriage between two consenting adults regardless of their gender, sex, or sexual orientation. 

Legal unacceptance by the Court has led to social unacceptance and brutal societal consequences. LGBTQ+ couples in small towns and villages bear a massive brunt of this discrimination. Apart from the societal pressure to ‘fit in’ the norm of heterosexual marriages, many authorities constantly use the provisions as an excuse to blackmail and extort LGBTQIA+ couples every day. Harassment, physical and emotional abuse, mob lynching, everyday violence on us, LGBTQ+ couples, is a brutal attack on our basic right to live with dignity. Indian marriage laws have actively excluded LGBTQ+ couples from legally registering marriages. A marriage between two adults under consent, one of whom at least is a citizen of India, must be given legal recognition under the laws. 

 India is on the verge of making a historic and long-overdue decision on equality for its LGBTQIA+ citizens. The Delhi High Court has adjourned the next hearing on this matter to July 6, 2021. It has been left to the Indian courts to remind us that without an individual's freedom to equal marriage rights, there is no democracy. Fundamentalism towards oppressed and marginalized communities shouldn’t be continued in a civil society, which is one of the biggest democracies in the world. This is an important reminder during a barbaric time of increasing polarization - it is you and me, the young and fearless at heart, the most diverse and educated generation in our history - who the nation is waiting to embrace.

Thus I, Shrushti Mane ask each and every one of you to sign this petition that demands Legal recognition/ registration of Indian LGBTQIA+ marriages. The government must bring in legislation that protects the legal rights of 10% of Indians who identify under the LGBTQIAPD+ spectrum, which is approximately 13 Crore Indians today and ensure that we are treated with equality and dignity. It is our basic human right to be treated at par with other humans in our society.

Best, 

Shrushti Mane, for myself and on behalf of LGBT-Mumbai.

0 have signed. Let’s get to 35,000!
At 35,000 signatures, this petition becomes one of the top signed on Change.org!