New Delhi: A Bharatiya Janata Party MP told Rajya Sabha Monday that the issue of same-sex marriages in the country could not be decided by courts alone, but needed a debate in Parliament and society.
Former Bihar deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi said: “Two judges cannot sit and take a decision on such social issues,” adding that attempts were being made by the “left-liberal democratic people and activists” to legalise same-sex marriages in the country.
He said this was “against our culture and ethos”, and encouraged the Centre to strongly present its case in court.
“Same-sex marriages will cause complete havoc with the delicate balance of personal laws in the country,” the BJP leader said, opposing its legalisation.
He said issues such as family, children and their upbringing were related to the institution of marriage, as were those of adoption, domestic violence, divorce, and a wife’s right to stay in the marital home.
Modi said some “left-liberal, democratic people and activists want India to follow the West” on this, referring to the US Senate’s decision last week to grant legal status to same-sex marriages.
He took the example of Japan, the only Asian country in the West-dominated G7 grouping which has resisted same-sex marriages.
In Asia, Modi pointed out, Taiwan was the only country which has validated same-sex marriages.
Modi said marriage is considered sacred in India and only meant a relationship between a biological man and woman, underscoring its importance in the country’s “centuries-old cultural and societal values, rituals and traditions”.
The BJP leader further said the Hindu religion considered marriage of divine origin, adding that same-sex marriages were neither recognised nor accepted in any uncodifed personal laws like the Muslim personal law or in any codified statutory law.
He also asked the judiciary to “not take any decision which is against the culture, ethos and beliefs of the country”.
Centre on same-sex marriage
Last month, the Supreme Court agreed to examine pleas seeking legal recognition of same-sex marriages under the Special Marriage Act and issued notice to the Centre on those petitions.
So far, the Supreme Court has issued notice to the Centre on three writ petitions pending before it. There are several pleas before various high courts that the Centre reportedly wants transferred to the top court, an SC advocate told ThePrint. Four gay couples have recently asked the apex court to recognise same-sex marriages.
This has set the stage for a legal face-off with the BJP-ruled central government, which has refused to legalise such marriages.
Opposing same-sex marriages in the past, the law ministry had said courts should stay away from the law-making process that falls under the Parliament’s purview.
Last year, the Centre argued in the Delhi High Court that a marriage depends on “age-old customs (and) rituals” and a sexual relationship between same-sex individuals is “not comparable with the Indian family unit concept of a husband, a wife and children”, adding that in India, marriage is “a solemn institution between a biological man and a biological woman”.
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