10 Reasons Why We Need Same-Sex Marriage In India

Marriage is a socio-legal contract that comes with benefits. And here are 10 reasons why we need same-sex marriage In India!

10 Reasons Why We Need Same-Sex Marriage In India

In a country obsessed with marrying their young early and immediately asking for good news three months later, it is amusing to learn that our government thinks the same-sex marriage demand is an elitist demand of the urbanized!

Same-sex couples, and our love, have existed ever since the dawn of human civilization. Yes, historians have collectively chosen to either ignore them or, as the cliché goes, dubbed them as; they were friends!

And thanks to deliberate misinterpretation and mistranslations of religious scriptures; we have been branded as unnatural! But we have been here; persecuted, hidden, rebelling from shadows, throwing stones, getting called slurs or out of the closet writing online; we have shaped history.

Why we need same-sex marriage in India?

I have been out to my friends and family for almost a decade, and in that decade a question that has been hurled at me time and again; why do you want marriage equality? My friends have called it an oppressive institution that only exists to satisfy the ego of traditionalists, it is not even about love.

Well, marriage is not about love alone, is it? We know. And every straight couple knows it too, you dislike it, but you partake in it; because marriage comes with benefits!

Marriage is a socio-legal contract

Marriage is a social contract that gives legitimacy to love and companionship. Our country is pretty intolerant of unmarried straight couples; look at the abuse women in live-in relationships receive for transgressing so-called social boundaries! The plight of the same-sex couple is worse, we can’t get rent as a couple, being roommates will make us eligible though!

Citing religious sentiments and cultural temperaments to reject same-sex marriage is not a good enough reason. Child marriages, Sati were acceptable too, not any more. We as a nation have done our best to eradicate these practices, haven’t we?

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Blaming Western influences is also not a good enough reason! If we are going to shun Western influences, we should start with men’s trousers and shirts, followed by boycotting Pizza and Burger places and imported alcohol! You can’t be selectively discriminating!

Social binding

Have you ever been on a dinner-date on Valentine’s Day with your partner, and the doorman reminded you it is a couple’s night because two women can’t be lovers?

Just legal permission to copulate with a same-sex partner is not bringing us social acceptance. Here are 3 social reasons why we need same-sex marriage in India.

Social recognition

Frankly, we are tired of uncles and aunties in social gatherings asking when is our marriage! Now that we want it, why are people against it? I do not want to enter a lavender marriage just to appease people!

Legality will give us social recognition, which will give us protection! And it will give us respect as life partners. I can’t introduce my partner (I don’t have a partner) as a wife, because people still think I am going through a phase! I am almost 30, it’s not a phase.

Creating new families

A constant argument is put forward, what’s the end goal of same-sex marriage?

Most of us LGBTQIA cannot have children the traditional way. Yet, it is a very reductive idea of marriage, is marriage a licence to procreation and furthering bloodline only? What empire of ashes are our future children inheriting?

8% of the country’s population is queer, we are not allowed to adopt children as a couple, and if we are allowed to adopt a child, only one parent’s name is registered under the single-parent adoption guidelines. If we have the legality, we can adopt many more children and provide them with a better life.

Because a child is wanted and desired in a same-sex relationship and not birthed to appease family members, like in so many heterosexual relationships!

Permeance of relationship

Marriage ensures certainty, that my partner will not ghost me or break up with me without any legal consequences. The LGBTQIA community is not free of domestic violence abuse, being estranged from your biological family because of your identity and trapped in a nameless relationship can do more damage than we realize.

In other cases, when queer couples elope, they don’t have the next step of going to a temple or mosque or church to get married or seek a court-marriage. This lack of legality has been used by parents of queer people to separate them and often marry them off against their wishes and worse!

Financial binding

Marriage is not only a socio-legal contract, and it is an economic contract, and being unmarried queer is costing me more in taxes. Here are 5 financial reasons why we need same-sex marriage in India.

What about inheritance?

Marriage brings our assets together, I was watching a Japanese drama called What Did You Eat Yesterday? And in one episode, a middle-aged gay couple visit our lawyer protagonist for dinner and ask for help. Unable to marry, the couple’s assets would be inherited either by their parents or biological relatives, as they didn’t have spousal status!

Though Japanese LGBTQIA community has a loophole, where same-sex couples chose the path of adult adoption to protect their assets. In India, we know how property battles drag on for decades; without a legal binding, someone who lost their partner can lose everything from their home to money to the right to even attend a funeral if there is no written Will.

If in future, I buy a property, I would like my partner to inherit my things in case of my untimely death when I didn’t prepare any Will.

Insurance battle

Though companies in India have started recognizing same-sex partners under their insurance policies, it is not enough. Until we have the government’s backing on same-sex marriage and legal recognition, we can not buy life insurance, nominate our partners, or claim it.

Though there have been tricks and tips on how to get insurance claims as a queer couple, why should we resolve to these methods? Are a straight-married couple lying to get coverage when one of them is in an accident? No!

Joint bank accounts

Let’s try to open a joint bank account without a marriage certificate as a cishet couple! Now imagine, two people from two different families, of same-sex or gender-queer, asking for a joint account will be met with silence. Money is a matter of trust and faith, which further thrives on the idea of family.

Before you state about Axis Bank’s policy, or remind us that RBI has no such discriminatory policies; the issue is entirely different; will banks accept our applications? It is not that simple, don’t fall for the rainbow marketing ploy.

Please remember, families are associated with the idea of safety-net and support systems. Banks don’t let you open accounts without a reference, and when asking for a loan, interest rates available to a married couple and an individual vary!

Tax exemptions

I was not aware of this for a long time, as I have been chronically single and broke. My friend, who has been in a relationship with his partner for more than a decade now, spoke about taxes.

Married couples get tax benefits from their investments, as they can combine their incomes and make a higher amount for investment capital! And they can choose how they can be taxed! A joint home loan halves the financial burden and doubles your tax benefits!

Going back to insurance, thanks to Income Tax Act, Sections 80C, 80CC and 80CCE, offer tax deductions on the contributions towards the insurance coverage. A couple can claim up to 3 lakhs; if one person is a medical rider, you can claim more exemptions!

Children expenses

Having a child or children can avail a married straight couple tax exemptions on grounds of tuition and education fees incurred by universities, colleges or schools! The amount can be up to 1.50 lakhs. If the expenses of a child’s education exceed the above-mentioned amount, it can also be bifurcated between spouses!

Legal binding

This nation was founded on the values of equality, so why are heterosexual people more equal than us queers? The Constitution and the government are meant to protect all its citizen from discrimination. Finally, 2 reasons why the cry for same-sex marriage is urgent!

Legal acceptance

Another argument is that the demand for marriage is a Western concept, maybe we learned from the West or Taiwan.  And we should wait for social acceptance. When laws of the land assert that we are equal, it can subdue misleading and harmful rhetoric. The Widow Remarriage Act was approved first, and acceptance came later.

Sometimes the law has to precede social acceptance, if we keep waiting for social acceptance, it will take us another three decades. When the government supports us, it opens many more opportunities for us in the future!

Legal protection

After the decimalization of Section 377, the number of harassment crimes has dropped, cases of false charges have been dropped and the exploitation of queer people has reduced. In Onir’s film, I Am, in part IV, Omar, the crimes that were done under the pretext of Section 377 against queer people should be a reminder of why we are still not safe.

Legality will make us resilient to fight back with honour and assert our rights. Right now we are being seen as people who have strayed from ‘our natural path’ and are functioning outside the social structure! We are not, we have been pushed aside because we have never been seen as equals.

Liberty, equality and fraternity!

Are we still wondering why we need same-sex marriage in India? Well because we are its citizens, we have rights, and the freedom to live and mingle with others without fear.

Equality is a constant work in progress, we cannot stop at the decimalization of section 377. Many have suggested our next step should rather focus on anti-discrimination laws to protect our other aspects of life. I want marriage equality now!

There are four marriage laws in this country, among them, we have a special marriage act which doesn’t specify the gender but rather uses the term each party; can be a man and a woman or a trans person! It can be that simple to change the law or look for loopholes like Japanese LGBTQIA!

Image source for 10 Reasons Why We Need Same-Sex Marriage In India: svetik, shann denials and filadendron, free and edited on CanvaPro

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Aritra Paul

Editor at Women's Web. She/They. 30. Bi. Bookworm. Comic book connoisseur. read more...

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