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NCP MP Supriya Sule moves private member’s bill in Parliament to legalise same-sex marriage in India

The bill in Lok Sabha seeks to amend Special Marriage Act, 1954

NCP leader Supriya Sule on Friday introduced a private member’s Bill that seeks to give equal rights of marriage to the LGBT community.

The Bill proposes that after Section 4 of the Special Marriage Act, 1954, an insertion be made that “notwithstanding anything contained in this Act or any other law for the time being in force, a marriage between any two persons of same sex may be solemnized under this Act”.

Another private member bill was also introduced by Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) MP DNV Senthilkumar S that talked about providing rights to members of the LGBTQIA community to enable them to live with dignity.

The introduction of this bill comes at a juncture when the Delhi High Court is hearing multiple petitions seeking recognition of same-sex marriages.

In its counter-affidavit filed in February last year, the Centre sought the dismissal of these pleas citing that marriage between two individuals of the same gender is neither recognized nor accepted in any statutory or personal laws.

It also argued that a decision on legalising same-sex marriages has to be taken by the Parliament.

The statement of Objects and Reasons of the Bill says, “While the determination of one’s sexual orientation has been realised, LGBTQIA individuals are still unable to marry and create their own families. In addition, LGBTQIA couples have no access to rights that heterosexual couples are entitled to upon marriage, such as succession, maintenance and pensions, etc. Therefore, it is of utmost importance to amend the Special Marriage Act, 1954, to legalise same-sex marriage, and provide Iegal recognition to married LGBTQIA couples.”

In 2018, the Supreme Court of India had struck down Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code that decriminalised homosexuality.

Citing another Supreme Court judgement, Sule said even after the determination of their sexual orientation, “LGBTQIA individuals are still unable to marry and raise their own families”.

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