A group of students from Delhi University gathered at the arts faculty to express their disappointment regarding the recent Supreme Court judgment that refrained from legally recognizing same-sex marriage, deferring the decision to Parliament. This Pride vigil, organized by the Student Federation of India (SFI) and the All-India Students’ Association (AISA), featured students holding placards proclaiming “Marriage equality is a right, not a privilege” and “A right delayed is a right denied.”
Approximately 100 people came together at this gathering, reflecting the dashed hopes of numerous LGBTQ+ individuals who had been seeking marriage equality, i.e. Same-sex marriage. Anan, a member of SFI and a member of the queer sub-committee, conveyed their sentiments, stating that excuses were no longer acceptable. They pointed to the example of Cuba, a country with higher poverty rates than India, where queer couples enjoy the right to marriage and adoption. Anan highlighted that India, while making strides on the global stage, has yet to provide queer couples with the same rights and privileges as their heterosexual counterparts.
Mehina Fathima, a college student, expressed her initial optimism given the progressive views of the Chief Justice of India on this matter. SFI, in its statement, criticized the judgment for proposing a higher committee to address same-sex couples’ concerns but failing to provide a clear timeline, direction, or composition for this committee. The statement further emphasized that Parliament had not implemented the previous directives from the NALSA judgment and Navtej Singh Johar judgment, thereby letting down a significant portion of the LGBTQIA+ community.
During the gathering, Krishanu, a 24-year-old activist who advocates for trans, queer, and disability rights, and possesses a background in sociology and research, addressed the audience. He criticized the judgment for offering no civil union or adoption rights to queer couples, merely using decorative language to appear progressive. He likened it to telling someone, “You deserve all of this, but you should go ask someone else to give it to you who, you know, will not give it to you.” However, Krishanu acknowledged the importance of directions to the police on how to handle cases involving queer individuals with sensitivity.
Anjali, the DU secretary of AISA, declared the organization’s commitment to continue fighting for queer liberation and promoting gender sensitization on campuses. The legal journey toward marriage rights, a process spanning from six months to several years, reached a contentious turning point. A five-judge Bench of the Supreme Court issued a 3:2 verdict on petitions seeking marriage and family rights for LGBTQ community members- Same-sex marriage. The Court declined to legalize same-sex marriage, placing the decision in the hands of Parliament and State governments. The verdict comprised four separate judgments spanning 366 pages, reflecting both agreement and disagreement.
More about Same-Sex Marriage
The core disagreement about Same-sex marriage revolved around the extent to which the law could address adoption rights and the formation of civil unions. Justices S. Ravindra Bhat, Hima Kohli, and P.S. Narasimha held the majority opinions, while the Chief Justice and Justice S.K. Kaul represented the minority views. The majority agreed that trans individuals in heterosexual relationships have the right to marry under existing laws or personal laws, and there was a general consensus about the harassment and discrimination faced by people in queer relationships.
Students at Delhi University gathered in a Pride vigil to express their disappointment with the Supreme Court’s decision not to legally recognize same-sex marriage, instead deferring the matter to Parliament. The students voiced their belief in marriage equality as a right and decried the delay in securing these rights. Despite the hopes of a progressive Chief Justice, the judgment was criticized for its lack of clarity regarding the formation of a committee to address same-sex couples’ concerns. While the legal journey for LGBTQ+ rights remains complex, the gathering showcased the resolve of these students to continue their struggle for queer liberation and gender sensitization on campus.