A More Equal Future

Queer Marriage Hearings- A Very Brief Summary

The Indian Supreme Court heard the queer marriage petitions between the 18th of April and the 9th of May 2023 and it had never been easier to be a part of the hearings. Lawyers huddled around podiums in court room 1 as the oral arguments streamed into the computer for 40 hours over 10 days, wherever you were. In this entry, I recount the most significant legal arguments made in the court.

There are two routes to marriage in India. The first under religious law and the second under secular law. Religious laws typically contemplate that both parties to the marriage belong to the same religion. The secular law, The Special Marriage Act, 1954 (SMA), provides a mechanism for marriage outside the framework of religious laws. It does not define marriage or expressly prohibit queer marriages. All it does is lay down the conditions of a valid marriage of two persons and the minimum ages of the male and the female. The chief question that the petitioners raise is whether the SMA can be interpreted to bring queer marriages within its fold.

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