India's Supreme Court refuses to legalise same-sex marriage

The country's Chief Justice called for an end to LGBT+ discrimination, but said it was up to Parliament to change the law.

India’s Supreme Court has refused to legalise same-sex marriage, after judges decided it should be up to Parliament to create the law.

Chief Justice Chandrachud urged the government to support the rights of the country’s queer community and end discrimination against them.

Earlier this year, judges heard 20 petitions demanding the legalisation of same-sex marriage in India.

There were different levels of agreement and disagreement among the justices “on how far we have to go” on same-sex marriages, according to Chandrachaud.

He explained it was Parliament’s decision on whether marriage laws could include queer unions, adding: “This court can’t make law. It can only interpret it and give effect to it.”

Legal rights for LGBT+ people in India have been expanding over the past decade, and most of these changes have come through the Supreme Court’s intervention.

Tuesday’s judgment comes after the top court in 2018 struck down a colonial-era law that had made gay sex punishable by up to ten years in prison, and expanded constitutional rights for the gay community.

The decision was seen as a historic victory for LGBT+ rights, with one judge saying it would “pave the way for a better future.”

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