Same-sex couples seek enforcement of fundamental right of choice of the partner

One couple has sought direction to declare that the Special Marriage Act, 1954 ought to apply to all couples regardless of their gender identity and sexual orientation, and reading the SMA so as to apply to all couples irrespective of their gender identity and sexual orientation.

New Delhi: The Centre on Thursday informed the Delhi High Court that it will file a reply on a batch of petitions filed by same-sex couples seeking enforcement of fundamental right of choice of the partner later in the day.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta submitted before the bench of Justices Rajiv Sahai Endlaw and Amit Bansal, “We have prepared a reply and would be filing it during the course of the day. It is in the process of being affirmed.”

On being asked by the court if the reply would be common to all petitioners, Mehta said, “I believe the issue is common.”

One couple has sought direction to declare that the Special Marriage Act, 1954 ought to apply to all couples regardless of their gender identity and sexual orientation, and reading the SMA so as to apply to all couples irrespective of their gender identity and sexual orientation.

The other couple, an Indian citizen and an Overseas Citizen of India are two gay men, who married in Washington D.C, the US, in 2017 states that the Foreign Marriage Act, 1969 inasmuch as it discriminates against same-sex couples by denying legal recognition of their marriage is ultra vires of the Constitution of India.

The pleas filed through advocates Arundhati Katju, Govind Manoharan, Surabhi Dhar and argued by senior advocate Menaka Guruswamy stated that like any other couple, “the petitioners want their relationship to be blessed and sanctified by society and by law”.

“Marriage offers both legal protections and social recognition of the commitment, support and security a couple offer each other, which are even more important in these times of the Covid-19 pandemic.”

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