NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court Tuesday rejected the plea to legalise same-sex marriages and extend the right of adoption to queer couples, in a setback to the push for equal treatment of those with alternative sexual orientation.
Despite asserting that queerness is neither urban nor elite, a bench of Chief Justice DY Chandrachud and Justices SK Kaul, SR Bhat, Hima Kohli and PS Narasimha disappointed the hopeful faces in the courtroom with a unanimous ruling that the right to marry was not a fundamental right and the legislature had the power to regulate it in accordance with societal conditions. Unequivocally stating that the legislature alone could effect changes in marriage laws and other consequential legislations to allow same-sex couples the right to legally tie the knot, the bench said it was not for the court to read down or insert words into Section 4 of the Special Marriage Act (SMA), 1954, to erase the statutorily essential man-woman component of a marriage.
The bench also agreed that a high-powered committee to be set up by the government should examine all factors relevant to the queer community and consider benefits for them.
But the unanimity ended there. While the CJI and Justice Kaul opined that same-sex couples could adopt, the majority opinion was against it.
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