On Thursday, as the Supreme Court heard arguments about legalising same-sex marriages, Chief Justice DY Chandrachud questioned whether it was essential for marriage to involve two spouses who belong to binary genders.
"We see these (same-sex) relationships not just as physical relations but something more of a stable, emotional relationship," Justice Chandrachud said on the third day of the hearing by a five-judge bench.
"Legalising same-sex marriage requires us to redefine the evolving notion of marriage. Because is the existence of two spouses who belong to a binary gender a necessary requirement for marriage?" he asked.
Law has undergone significant changes in the last 69 years
It was pointed out that the law has undergone significant changes in the last 69 years since the Special Marriage Act was introduced in 1954. This act offered a civil marriage option for those who didn't want to abide by their personal laws.
"And by decriminalizing homosexuality, we have not just recognised treating relationships between consenting adults of the same gender, but we've also recognised that people who are of the same sex would even be in stable relationships," he said further.
"There are no absolutes, even at the risk of being trolled"
During the hearing, the Chief Justice stated that there are no absolutes, even at the risk of being trolled. He questioned whether a child would grow up in a normal atmosphere if they witnessed domestic violence between heterosexual parents.
He also noted that increasingly, heterosexual couples are either childless or have only one child, moving away from the traditional notion of having a boy.
These comments are noteworthy as they come in the midst of government opposition to legalizing same-sex marriages. The government has dismissed the appeals as "urban elitist views" and argued that parliament should debate the matter. The government's stance is based on the Indian family unit concept of a husband, wife, and children.
Several appeals have been filed with the Supreme Court, with at least 15 citing the need for legal recognition of same-sex marriages to exercise rights like medical consent, pensions, adoption, and club memberships.
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