Same-Sex Marriage: Centre Cites 5,000 Years Of Sanatan Dharma

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New Delhi: The Delhi high court has sought response of the Centre and Delhi government on pleas by two same-sex couples who have sought legal recognition of their marriages.

The argument of petitioners, represented by senior advocate Menaka Guruswamy and advocates Arundhati Katju, Govind Manoharan and Surabhi Dhar, is that the lack of formal acceptance of their union under Indian laws was a violation of their constitutional rights.

Advocate Rajkumar Yadav, counsel for the Centre, argued that this is a peculiar circumstance and such a situation has not been faced in 5,000 years of Sanatan Dharma.

A bench of justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw and justice Asha Menon issued notices to the authorities and fixed date for further hearing on January 8, 2021.

The bench also said age-old inhibitions have to be shed.

“We may shed our inhibition. The laws are gender-neutral. You please try to interpret the law for the citizens of Sanatan Dharma in the country. This is not an adversarial litigation. This is for the right of every citizen of the country,” justice Menon said.

Standing counsel for Central government Kirtiman Singh said that the issue would require a detailed reply.

The first petition was filed by 47-year-old Kavita Arora and and 36-year-old Ankita Khanna, two mental health professionals who said they had been living together as a couple for eight years but were unable to get married as both were women.

The second petition was filed by two men — Vaibhav Jain and Parag Vijay Mehta, an overseas citizen of India, who got married in the United States in 2017. An Indian consulate refused to register their union under the 1969 Foreign Marriage Act.

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