Written By Nischal Srinivasan (Grade 12)
The recognition and acceptance of the LGBTQIA+ community in India have undergone significant transformations over the years. From landmark court judgments to grassroots movements, the nation has been on a progressive trajectory towards equality and inclusivity. This article chronicles the legal journey and societal milestones that have paved the way for the legalization of homosexual marriage in India, ultimately affirming the rights and dignity of same-sex couples.
Naz Foundation vs. Govt. of NCT of Delhi (2009)
In this pivotal case, the Delhi High Court declared Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), which criminalized consensual homosexual acts, as unconstitutional. This judgment marked a crucial step towards recognizing the existence of same-sex relationships and promoting equal treatment for the LGBTQIA+ community.
Suresh Kumar Koushal Case (2013)
The Supreme Court’s decision, in this case, overturned the previous judgment by the Delhi High Court, reinstating the criminalization of homosexuality. Despite this setback, the LGBTQIA+ movement persisted, fueled by the belief in the fundamental rights and freedoms of individuals, regardless of sexual orientation.
Justice K.S. Puttaswamy vs. Union of India (2017)
The Puttaswamy case, also known as the Right to Privacy case, emphasized the importance of bodily autonomy as an integral part of an individual’s right to privacy. This landmark judgment recognized the significance of personal choices, including intimate relationships, and laid the foundation for protecting the rights of the LGBTQIA+ community.
Navtej Singh Johar vs. Union Of India (2018):
In a historic ruling, the Supreme Court decriminalized homosexuality by striking down Section 377 of the IPC. This landmark judgment reaffirmed the principles of equality and non-discrimination, granting same-sex individuals the freedom to express their love and form committed relationships without fear of legal persecution.
National Legal Services Authority vs. Union of India/NALSA judgment (2014)
The NALSA judgment acknowledged and affirmed the rights of transgender individuals, recognizing them as the “Third Gender.” This decision underscored the need for legal recognition and protection of transgender rights, further advancing the cause of inclusivity within the LGBTQIA+ community.
International Labour Organisation (ILO) Recommendations (2023)
The ILO released a significant document titled “Inclusion of LGBTQIA+ Persons in the World of Work,” providing recommendations to ensure equal opportunities and treatment for individuals within the LGBTQIA+ community. This global perspective strengthens the call for equality and recognition of same-sex relationships on an international scale.
The Hijra Community in India
Within the LGBTQIA+ community in India, the Hijras occupy a unique and distinct social group. Recognized as the “Third Gender” by the NALSA judgment, the Hijras have long fought for their rights and acceptance in society, contributing to the broader movement for LGBTQIA+ equality.
Milestones of Social Activism
Dating back to August 11, 1992, when the first known protest for gay rights was held in India, the LGBTQIA+ movement has gained momentum. Notably, Kolkata hosted India’s first Gay Pride Parade in 1999, symbolizing a visible and vibrant celebration of LGBTQIA+ pride, solidarity, and unity.
The journey towards legalizing homosexual marriage in India has witnessed remarkable progress over time. From the Naz Foundation case challenging the constitutionality of Section 377 to the decriminalization of homosexuality in Navtej Singh Johar, the Indian judiciary has played a crucial role in upholding the principles of equality and non-discrimination. Supported by societal milestones, global perspectives, and the resilience of the LGBTQIA+ community, the movement for equal rights and recognition of same-sex relationships has gained momentum. As India moves forward, it is essential to continue advocating for legalizing homosexual marriage to ensure that all individuals, regardless of their sexual orientation, can experience the joy, commitment, and legal protections that come with marriage.
Featured Image Courtesy – The Indian Express