SC hearing pleas on same-sex couples’ right to marry
- A “civil union” is a legal status that grants same-sex couples certain rights and responsibilities that are normally given to married couples.
- Although a civil union resembles a marriage and brings with it employment, inheritance, property, and parental rights, there are some differences between the two.
- Marriage is a religious institution recognised by law that allows two individuals (a man and a woman) to marry.
- Since same-sex marriage is outside the scope of the religion-based definition of marriage, Civil Union is a tool devised to grant similar legal protection to couples who opt for same-sex marriage.
- USA: In the year 2015, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) legalised same-sex marriages across the nation with its landmark ruling in “Obergefell v. Hodges”. Prior to 2015, a majority of states in the US had Civil Union laws that allowed same-sex couples to marry.
- Sweden: Before 2009, LGBTQ couples could apply for civil unions and enjoy benefits such as the right to adopt. Sweden legalised same-sex marriages in 2009.
- Similarly, countries like Brazil, Uruguay, and Chile had also recognised the right of same-sex couples to enter into civil unions, even before they formally recognised their legal right to marriage.
- The Centre has contested the hearing of petitions seeking legal recognition of same-sex marriage by the Supreme Court on the grounds of the judiciary’s right to confer legal recognition on the “socio-legal institution” of marriage.
- In his response to the Centre’s objections, the Chief Justice of India clarified that the hearing’s scope would be limited to developing a notion of a “civil union” that finds legal recognition under the Special Marriage Act, 1954.
- Gender rights campaigners believe recognising same-sex marriages is the next logical step after the decriminalisation of homosexuality.
Content contributed by- Jeffrey V