New bill to legalising same-sex marriage in India

MP Supriya Sule in the Indian Parliament

Supriya Sule, a Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) MP has introduced a private member bill in the in the Indian Parliament seeking legalising of same-sex marriage and providing same legal rights to married LGBTQIA couples that heterosexual couples were entitled to.

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

The bill introduced by Sule, a parliamentarian from Maharashtra, proposed to amend the Special Marriage Act, 1954, to solemnise such marriages and fix the age of marriage at 21 years in case both parties were men and 18 years in case both were women. It also proposed to replace the words husband and wife with spouse by amending the various sections of the Act. Sule said lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (questioning), intersex, and agender (LGBTQIA) individuals still faced “persecution, discrimination and social stigma within society”.

In 2018, the Supreme Court of India had struck down Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code that decriminalised homosexuality. Sule said even after the determination of their sexual orientation, “LGBTQIA individuals are still unable to marry and raise their own families”.

Sule said that LGBTQIA couples had no access to rights that heterosexual couples were entitled to upon marriage, such as succession, maintenance and pensions, etc. “Therefore, it is of the utmost importance to amend the Special Marriage Act, 1954, to legalise same-sex marriage, and provide legal recognition to married LGBTQIA couples,” she said.

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