In a significant development, the Supreme Court refrained from officially legalizing marriage equality in a recent ruling, but emphatically underscored that an individual's right to enter into a union must not be constrained based on their sexual orientation. The five-judge bench issued four separate judgments, primarily diverging on the issue of adoption rights for LGBTQ+ couples.
The judges collectively called upon the government to establish a committee to address the practical challenges faced by same-sex couples, including securing essential documents like ration cards, pension benefits, gratuity, and resolving succession issues. This move reflects a notable step towards acknowledging and addressing the specific concerns of LGBTQ+ individuals.
Earlier, on May 3, the central government had informed the court of its intention to form a committee led by a cabinet secretary. The committee's objective is to explore administrative solutions to the challenges encountered by same-sex couples, while deliberately sidestepping the broader question of marriage equality.
A significant point of contention within the bench was the matter of adoption rights for LGBTQ+ couples. Chief Justice of India, DY Chandrachud, and Justice SK Kaul recognized the right of queer couples to adopt, marking a progressive stance on the issue. In contrast, Justices S Ravindra Bhat, PS Narasimha, and Hima Kohli dissented, differing in their perspective on adoption rights for the LGBTQ+ community. This decision represents a pivotal moment in India's legal landscape, underscoring the ongoing debates and advancements in LGBTQ+ rights within the country.