Same sex marriage cannot be legalised: Supreme Court

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The Supreme Court of India (Image:
The Supreme Court of India (Image:

New Delhi : The Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to legalise the same sex marriage and said only Parliament and state legislatures can validate marital unions in a ruling that disappointed millions of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) people in India.

With a 3-2 majority, the court also rejected the notion of providing constitutional safeguards for civil unions and adoption rights for same-sex couples. They emphasized that compelling the state to bestow recognition or legal standing upon certain unions would run afoul of the principle of separation of powers and might result in unpredictable repercussions.

"This court cannot make law; it can only interpret it and give effect to it. The court, in the exercise of the power of judicial review, must remain clear of matters, particularly those impinging on the policy which falls in the legislative domain," the verdict said.

The verdict came from the bench comprised of Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dhananjaya Y. Chandrachud and justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul, S. Ravindra Bhat, Hima Kohli and P.S. Narasimha.

The verdict dashed the expectations of approximately 20 petitioners who had brought their case before the highest court, contending that the absence of recognition for their relationships deprived them of the material benefits enjoyed by their heterosexual counterparts, thereby infringing upon their constitutional rights.