Gay couple in Kerala moves HC to register their marriage

Unable to get their marriage registered, a gay couple have filed a petition in the Kerala high court challenging a clause in the Special Marriage Act, 1954, that recognises marriage only between a man and a woman.

“It is submitted that the petitioners had turned to this country’s secular law and its Constitution after being discriminated by religion and culture, and stereotypical homophobia. To the petitioners’ utter shock, the Special Marriage Act, 1954, and its provisions are found to be discriminatory as well because the Act recognizes only marriages between persons belonging to the opposite sex,” their petition states.

Nikesh P P and Sonu M S had got married at a private ceremony last September after failing to organise a traditional wedding because no priest or religious organisation was willing to conduct the rituals.

After hearing the couple’s petition, Justice Anu Sivaraman sought the views of the central and state governments on the contention that the Act is discriminatory and should be declared unconstitutional.

Section 4 of the Act describes marriage as a relationship between “male and female” or “bride and bridegroom”.

The forms appended to schedule numbers 2 and 4 of the Act carry heterosexual nomenclature, as pointed out by the petitioners.

According to Nikesh and Sonu, preventing a same-sex couple from registering their marriage violates a right granted to them two years ago. The petitioners have cited the SC’s 2018 judgment in the Navtej Singh Johar vs Union of India case, which recognises a person’s right to sexual identity and to be treated with dignity.

Any law that contradicts this disrespects individual choice, the apex court said. In their petition, Nikesh and Sonu have mentioned the humiliation they suffered after coming out as a gay couple in love. The insult and indignity they felt was even greater when the law refused to recognise their union, the couple said.

According to them, exclusion from the institution of marriage also constitutes denial of ordinary rights and privileges granted to a married couple such as maintenance, inheritance, joint bank accounts, lockers and the right to nominate each other for insurance, pension and gratuity.

According to the couple, exclusion from the institution of marriage constitutes a denial of ordinary rights such as joint bank accounts, inheritance, and others

No comments: