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Legalising Gay Marriage Is The Next Step For Lawyer Couple Who Helped Abolish Section 377

Posted: June 29, 2020

After the decriminalizing of homosexuality, lawyers Arundhati Katju and Menaka Guruswamy, are taking the logical next step towards legalising gay marriage.

Almost two years ago India won the long battle against the archaic law Section 377 that criminalized homosexuality. Section 377 was abolished by efforts of many lawyers, NGO workers, petitioners, activists, LGBTQ+ members. The frontiers in the battle were lawyers Arundhati Katju and Menaka Guruswamy.

Now, these lawyers are ready to fight for legalising gay marriage in India. (As reported by News18) . And yes, we can’t be any less proud of them.

Need for legalising gay marriage

Arundhati Katju and Menaka Guruswamy, who came out as a couple last year were included in Time Magazine’s list of 100 most influential people in the world. They played a very important role in undoing the draconian, Imperial-era law that criminalized ‘unnatural’ sex in September 2018. But just the decriminalization of homosexuality doesn’t mean that homosexuals are treated as equals in the country. 

Apart from the social stigma, many legal barriers also prevent homosexuals from having equal rights as any other citizen of the country. One of the most rigid barriers is same-sex marriages. Same-sex marriages are not legal in India, therefore homosexual couples are not allowed to adopt a child together. 

‘India is a marriage country!’

Talking about the future after the abolishment of Section 377 Oxford Union in April this year Menaka Guruswamy and Arundhati Katju delivered a powerful speech on LGBTQ+ rights in India.

There they addressed the issue of same-sex marriage. In that, they said “India is a Marriage Country.” Now we all know how much importance both legally and morally, the bond of marriage holds in our country, although even heterosexual marriages in our country come with their struggle and fights.

These stem from stigmas around inter-caste marriage and inter-religion marriage. So the policing of love comes as an integral part of both legal and social aspects of our country. To look at this policing Katju and Guruswamy are advocating the Marriage Project which is a legal project aimed at making same-sex marriages a constitutional right. 

The Marriage Project

Supporting the Marriage Project Katju said – “What we hope for is that this right to choose your partner will include the right for LGBT couples to marry.” To this Guruswamy added “gay or straight, male or female, Hindu or Muslim, upper caste or lower caste, people want the same thing – a long-term relationship to be recognised by society and the law.”

The groundwork for the Marriage Project is already done. On a social level, people have begun talking about homosexuality and started being more accepting. Culturally the online media on YouTube, OTT Platforms and even Bollywood has started to start discussing homosexuality. Commercial movies like Shubh Mangal Zyada Savdhan and Ek Ladki To Dekha To Aisa Laga have moved the concept of homosexuality out of the ‘art’ genre.

Similarly, prominent personalities like athlete Dutee Chand are proudly coming out as a homosexual. Recently she even broke heterosexual norms by celebrating Sabitri Puja with her partner

The fight has already begun

On a legal level, Sonu and Nikesh are two young men who secretly exchanged garlands and wedding rings at the Guruvayoor temple in July 2018. Filed a petition in the Kerala High Court to legalize their marriage.

Nitesh says, “I cannot call Sonu my husband in any document. We cannot open a joint bank account or get medical insurance together. We do not enjoy any of the privileges that heterosexual married couples in this country enjoy.”

Indeed the fight has begun, in which Guruswamy and Katju believe that there will be more young people heading to the courts, demanding for their right to marry the ones they’re legally allowed to love as well. And that change is not far away.

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