Centre opposes legal recognition of same-sex marriage, says not ‘the norm’

The Centre in its affidavit on pleas on same-sex marriage said there can be many forms of relationships in a society which the State does not recognise but are not illegal.

Centre opposes legal recognition of same-sex marriage, says not ‘the norm’
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The Centre has opposed pleas in Supreme Court seeking recognition of same-sex marriage. In its counter-affidavit in the Supreme Court, the Centre said decriminalisation of Section 377 IPC cannot give rise to a claim to seek recognition for same-sex marriage. Statutory recognition of marriage limited to heterosexual in nature is the norm throughout history and is foundational to both existence and continuance of the State, the Centre said. "Hence, considering its social value, the State has a compelling interest in granting recognition to Heterosexual Marriage only to the exclusion of other forms of marriage/unions," the counter-affidavit, as quoted by LiveLaw, said.

"It is submitted that at this stage it is necessary to recognise that while there may be various other forms of marriages or unions or personal understandings of relationships between individuals in a society, the State limits the recognition to the heterosexual form. The State does not recognise these other forms of marriages or unions or personal understandings of relationships between individuals in society but the same are not unlawful," the Centre said.

The Centre cited societal organisations to oppose same-sex marriage and said on a normative level, society consists of smaller units of the family which are predominantly organised in a heterogenous fashion. "This organisation of the building block of society is premised on further continuance of the building blocks i.e. the family unit," it said. While other forms of unions may exist in the society which would not be unlawful, it is open for a society to give legal recognition of the form of a union which a society considers to be quintessential building block for its existence. The Centre asserted that no fundamental rights are violated due to its non-recognition of the same-sex marriages.

The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear a batch of pleas seeking legal validation for same-sex marriage on March 13. A bench comprising Chief Justice DY Chandrachud, Justice PS Narasimha and Justice JB Pardiwala will hear the pleas.

In a landmark verdict on September 6, 2018, the top court struck down Section 377 which criminalised same-sex relationships.