It’s 2021, and same-sex marriages are still illegal in India. On 26th February, 2021 the central government issued its response to the Delhi High Court regarding same-sex marriages. It stated that decriminalising Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code did not translate to the fundamental right to marry. Further in its affidavit, the government stated that same-sex individuals in a relationship or living together as partners was “not comparable” with the “Indian family concept” of husband, wife and children. But what about the same-sex “couples rights” so that they can enjoy the benefits just as the opposite sex couples?
“One of the major problems we face is that we cannot cannot avail the benefits like normal couples do. We have a hard time booking a hotel for ourselves because of the many social stigmas”, say Janameyjay and Arpit, a same-sex couple. On examining the central government’s statement to not considering same-sex marriage, you’ll find a trillion questions unanswered. “Finding a permanent roof over our head is near to impossible. Hooligans out there are ready to eat you and all they know about us is that whatever we do is illegal”, say Janameyjay and Arpit.
The Case For Marriage Rights
“You cannot apply for a visa, visit international lands, invest together. You can’t even own a joint bank account together as a couple. Obviously, as separate individuals you can do all of the above. But not as couples”, explains Rohit Gautam, Senior Advocate at Lucknow High Court, who is also an LGBTQ activist. When asked about the problems they face, Janameyjay and Arpit couple mentions, “There are many of them. We cannot specify one as anything which is normal for other couples becomes a problem for us. That’s how our society functions.”
Scraping off of section 377 hasn’t solved problems for same-sex couples looking at marriage. The basic problems faced by the same sex couples are still as strong as ever. Which means that the only effective changes have been brought on paper. “I have filed many PILs on behalf of same sex couples. Their main problem has been moving together in their own accommodation. At times, they find it easier to not reveal their relation and own the property”, adds Gautam.