Same sex live-in relationships are okay but marriage is not. That was Sushil Modi’s vociferous stand on the issue.
The BJP Rajya Sabha MP strongly objected during zero hour in Parliament on Monday and said “two judges can’t sit and decide” on such a socially significant subject. His statement comes days before the Centre spells out its take on same-sex marriages before the Supreme Court.
He held out that “some Left-liberal activists” were trying to get legal sanctity for gay marriages. “The judiciary should not give any order that is against the cultural ethos of the country,” declared Modi, an MP from Bihar.
The Apex Court had given the government time until January 6 to submit its response.
“I oppose legalising same sex marriages. In India, same-sex marriage is neither recognised nor accepted in any uncodified personal law like the Muslim Personal Law or any codified statutory laws. Same sex marriages will cause complete havoc with the delicate balance of personal laws in the country.” He urged the government to strongly argue against same- sex marriage in court. He further argued that allowing the same would entail amendment to lot of Acts. “The divorce act, the maintenance act, the special marriage act. What about succession, what about adoption, what about divorce? There are a lot of issues,” he noted.
“Two judges cannot decide on such an important social issue. There should be a debate in parliament as well as the society at large,” said the former Bihar Deputy Chief Minister.
The Supreme Court, in a landmark verdict in 2018, scrapped a colonial-era ban on gay sex and decriminalised homosexuality. LGBT activists say they are still deprived of legal sanctity for same-sex marriages, which is a basic right enjoyed by heterosexual couples.
The matter comes to light in wake of a request by four gay couples to “modifies or interpret” laws in a way that allows same-gender marriages. The Centre had opposed same-sex marriages in the past and had said courts should stay away from the law-making process and leave it to Parliament.
However, backing the couples are high-profile lawyers including former Attorney General and lawyer Saurabh Kirpal. He has accused the Centre that his “elevation as a state judge was delayed owing to his sexual orientation.”
Meanwhile, in one state court filing last year, the law ministry said marriage depends on “age-old customs (and) rituals” and a sexual relationship between same-sex individuals is “not comparable with the Indian family unit concept of a husband, a wife and children.”
In India, marriage is “a solemn institution between a biological man and a biological woman,” it decreed.