NCP MP Supriya Sule Introduces Bill to Legalise Same-Sex Marriage
Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) MP Supriya Sule on Friday introduced a private member’s Bill in the Lok Sabha to legalise same-sex marriage so that LGBTQIA+ persons can live with dignity.
The Bill will provide the same marital rights to LGBTQIA+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Questioning, And Their Allies) couples that heterosexual people are entitled to. It also proposes to fix the marriageable age at 21 years if both partners are male, and 18 years if both partners are female. It also proposes to replace the words “husband” and “wife” with “spouse”.
In the statement of ‘Objects and Reasons’ of the Bill, Sule said, “LGBTQIA+ individuals are still unable to marry and create their own families because of the social stigma.” Reportedly, she also said that LGBTQIA+ couples have no access to rights that heterosexual couples are entitled to after marriage. In India, heterosexual couples have the right to maintenance and pensions. However, same-sex couples are deprived of this right.
Sule further said to amend the Special Marriage Act of 1954 to legalise same-sex marriage and provide Legal recognition to married LGBTQIA+ couples. Reportedly, there are many benefits that would otherwise be available to heterosexual married couples that are not available to same-sex couples.
After introducing the bill, Sule also wrote on Twitter about the matter. She wrote, “LGBTQIA+ individuals still face discrimination and social stigma within society.”
A similar private member’s bill was introduced by Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) MP D.N.V. Senthilkumar S for the rights of the LGBTQIA+ community.
Homosexuality was effectively decriminalised when the Supreme Court considered the plight of the LGBTQIA+ community in the 2018 Navtej Singh Johar case. The court reportedly said that any kind of discrimination on the basis of the sexual orientation of a person is unconstitutional. The case highlighted the stark reality of a society where the citizens faced discrimination only on account of their sexual orientation.