CJI refers petitions on same-sex marriage to Constitution Bench
Court lists case for final arguments on April 18; hearing will be livestreamed in public interest; adopted child of a lesbian
or gay couple does not necessarily have to be lesbian or gay, says Chief Justice in response to concerns raised by the govt.
Growing up with lesbian or gay parents will not necessarily make a child lesbian or gay, the Supreme Court observed on Monday, as it confronted the government’s concern about the “psychological” impact same-sex marriages may have on children.
Chief Justice D.Y. Chandrachud referred petitions seeking legal recognition of same-sex marriages to a Constitution Bench, but took the time on Monday to soothe the government’s anxiety about how such a move would affect Indian “social ethos”.
“Parliament will have to examine… Parliament will have to see what would be the psychology of a child who has seen either two men or only two women as parents… What would be the psychology of a child who was not reared by a father and a mother… Parliament will have to debate whether we would like this institution to be recognised in view of our social ethos…” Solicitor-General Tushar Mehta, for the Union, objected to the court’s intervention.
“But, Mr. Solicitor, the adopted child of a lesbian couple or a gay couple does not necessarily have to be lesbian or gay…” CJI Chandrachud said.
At one point, Mr. Mehta said, “Your Lordships are shouldering a very heavy burden of how society will develop henceforth.”
The Bench listed the case for final arguments on April 18 and said the hearing would be livestreamed in public interest.
The Centre denied any stigma attached to same-sex relationships. “The question here is whether this relationship, as part of right to dignity, can be given recognition by the state,” Mr. Mehta said.
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