India Supreme Court decided whether to legalise same-sex marriages. LGBT+ activists and same-sex couples are hugely disappointed.
On Tuesday 17 October, the Supreme Court of India declined to legalise same-sex unions. Instead, it accepted the government’s offer to set up a panel to debate granting more rights to the queer community in the future. The verdict came after considering 21 petitions, holding hearings and discussions that were publicly televised, the BBC reports.
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Legalisation of LGBT+ relationships in India declined
The government and religious leaders of the relatively conservative state had opposed the petitions brought by activists from the very beginning. They believed that only parliament had the right to discuss the socio-legal issue of marriage. According to them, introducing changes on this matter would lead to "chaos in society".
The initiators of the petition argued their demands on the grounds that not being able to marry made them "second-class citizens" and violates their constitutional rights. The court, however, agreed with the government, saying that it could not change the law and interfere in religious matters.
Tuesday's verdict left a large number of LGBT+ people disappointed, while it was welcomed by others. At least 10% of India's population - more than 135 million people - is queer. Many members of this minority were hoping that they would have the opportunity to change their lives after a key court decision.
Attitudes towards sexuality in India, however, remain strongly conservative. LGBT+ people still face discrimination and, for the time being, cannot hope for any meaningful change on this issue.