Does striking down of Sec 377 pave the way for same sex marriage? Knot yet
New Delhi, Sep 7: The Supreme Court on Thursday partially struck down as unconstitutional Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code. The court said that gay sex between consenting adults in private is not an offence.
While the LGBTQ community won a battle that lasted decades, the question now is whether the judgment would pave the way for same sex marriage. The verdict which ran into 493 pages is however not clear on this aspect.
While there have been a few instances of same sex marriage, under the current law registering the same is not permitted. Unless the laws are amended, same sex marriages cannot be registered. There is also a question mark on other aspects such as inheritance, guardianship and adoption.
Legal experts say that the SC verdict is silent on these aspects and has only gone into specifics. If same sex marriages are to become legal, then an amendment is required. For instance, civil and personal laws do not provide for same sex marriages. This means an amendment to the Special Marriages Act is required. The other option would be to come up with an entirely new law for the LGBTQ community, experts also say.
Madhuri Sarode Sharma, a transgender activist had got married two years back. Her husband's parents had accepted the marriage. However till date the marriage is not registered as there is no provision to do so under the current laws.
To come up with a new law, it is the Parliament which would have to take the first step. The Supreme Court too could suggest framing of new laws, but to get into motion would be in the hands of the Parliament. Some activists could also go back to the Supreme Court and seek a clarification regarding the same.