SC to hear Final arguments over legal recognition to same-sex marriages on April 18

Supreme Court of India

New Delhi: The Supreme Court of India has announced that the final arguments over legal recognition of same-sex marriages in India will be heard on April 18 by a five-judge Constitution bench.

The announcement comes after years of legal battles and advocacy by LGBTQ+ activists, who have been fighting for equal rights and recognition under the law. Currently, same-sex marriage is not recognized under Indian law and is considered a criminal offense under Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code.

The case was initially brought before the court in 2018, when five LGBTQ+ individuals filed a petition challenging the constitutionality of Section 377. In a historic judgment, the Supreme Court struck down the section in September 2018, effectively decriminalizing homosexuality in India.

However, the court did not address the issue of same-sex marriage in that ruling, leaving it up to the legislature to decide. Since then, there have been numerous petitions and appeals filed seeking legal recognition for same-sex marriages.

The upcoming hearing on April 18 will be a critical moment for the LGBTQ+ community in India, as it will determine whether same-sex couples have the same rights as heterosexual couples under Indian law. The five-judge Constitution bench will hear arguments from both sides and make a final decision on the matter.

The LGBTQ+ community in India has faced significant challenges and discrimination, including limited legal protections and social stigma. If the court rules in favor of legal recognition for same-sex marriages, it will be a major step forward in the fight for equal rights and inclusion.

Activists and allies have expressed hope and optimism about the upcoming hearing. "This is a historic moment for the LGBTQ+ community in India," said Anjali Gopalan, founder of the Naz Foundation, a nonprofit organization that has been advocating for LGBTQ+ rights in India. "We are hopeful that the court will recognize the importance of equal rights and justice for all."

The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has also been evolving its stance on the issue of same-sex marriage. The party has historically opposed the decriminalization of homosexuality and the legalization of same-sex marriage, citing conservative social and religious values. However, some members of the party have recently shown support for LGBTQ+ rights, including BJP spokesperson Shaina NC and MP Subramanian Swamy. In 2019, the BJP also allowed its members to vote according to their conscience on the decriminalization of homosexuality, indicating a more open stance on the issue. The party's evolving stance on same-sex marriage will also be closely watched in light of the upcoming hearing on April 18.

The Supreme Court's decision on April 18 will have a significant impact on the future of LGBTQ+ rights in India and will be closely watched by activists, lawmakers, and the general public.
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