NCP MP Supriya Sule Introduces Bill to Legalise Same-Sex Marriages in Lok Sabha
The bill mandates male partners to be at least 21 years of age and women female partners to be 18 years of age.
Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) MP Supriya Sule on Friday, 1 April, introduced The Special Marriage (Amendment) Bill (2022) in Lok Sabha to legalise same-sex marriage and grant equal legal rights to LGBTQIA+ individuals.
The bill proposes a separate section to be inserted after Section 4 of the Special Marriage Act, 1954, which states, “Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act or any other law for the time being in force, a marriage between any two persons of the same sex may be solemnised under this Act.”
The bill mandates that partners, if both male, must be at least 21 years of age while women female partners must be at least 18 years of age.
Under Section 15 of the bill, it seeks to substitute the words “husband or wife” with the word “spouse” in the Special Marriage Act.
Sule tweeted on Friday, “In 2018, the Supreme Court of India struck down an archaic, draconian legislation of the Indian Penal Code, namely Section 377. Through this landmark judgement, Navtej Singh Johar v Union of India, homosexuality was effectively decriminalised (sic).”
Equal Legal Rights to LGBTQIA+ Couples
She said that in spite of the landmark judgment, LGBTQIA+ individuals still face discrimination and social stigma in society. She stressed that it was of “utmost importance” to amend the Special Marriage Act 1954 and grant the same legal rights to homosexual couples as heterosexual individuals are entitled to.
“Doing this will ensure that Article 14 and Article 21 of the Constitution are upheld, and ensure that LGBTQIA+ couples are provided with the equal rights they are entitled to,” the MP said.
Under the bill’s ‘Statement of Objects and Reasons’, Sule stated that LGBTQIA+ individuals are still unable to marry and create their own families.
She added that LGBTQIA+ couples have no access to rights that heterosexual couples are entitled to upon marriage, such as succession, maintenance and pensions, etc.
“Therefore, it is of utmost importance to amend the Special Marriage Act, 1954, to legalise same-sex marriage, and provide Iegal recognition to married LGBTQIA couples,” it said.
In a 493-page verdict in September 2018, the SC struck down the archaic Section 377, a groundbreaking verdict on Navtej Singh Johar & Others vs Union of India – effectively decriminalising homosexuality in India.
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