Clear your stand on same-sex marriage: Delhi HC

Laws are gender neutral and government should try and interpret them in a beneficial way, Delhi High Court remarked on Wednesday, while hearing separate petitions by two same sex couples unable to get legal recognition to their union.

A bench of justices RS Endlaw and Asha Menon sought the stand of the Centre and Delhi government on a petition by two women seeking to get married under the Special Marriage Act, which does not provide for same sex marriages.

On the second plea, the court issued notice to the Centre and the Consulate General of India in New York where two gay men married in the US but were denied registration of their marriage under the Foreign Marriage Act and are unable to fly down to India.

Hearing both petitions together, the bench raised doubts over maintainability, pointing out that in the Indian context, the concept of marriage emanates from the customary laws that do not recognise same sex marriages.

It also said that marriage is not defined under the SMA and FMA, and everyone interprets what a marriage is according to the customary laws, adding that if same sex marriages get recognised under customary laws, it would be followed by other statutes. The court also highlighted that statutes such as SMA were enacted as there were no customs for inter-faith and inter-caste marriages.

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