On September 8, 2016, the Supreme Court of India abolished section 377 of the Indian constitution in a landmark judgment legalizing homosexuality in the country. A five-judge bench led by CJI Dipak Misra diluted Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, to exclude all kinds of adult consensual sexual behaviour. Lawyers Arundhati Katju and Menaka Guruswamy were the faces of it.
Meanwhile, the couple has now decided to fight for the legalisation of same-sex marriage in India. Even though homosexuality is now legal in the country, many LBGTQ people face a lot of discrimination and marriage is the only legal and socially acceptable form of union between two partners.
“In India, inter-caste couples continue to face social stigma, even though such relationships are constitutionally legal,” Guruswamy was quoted as saying to Business Insider. “Hence, the very act of policing love seems to have been an integral part of our collective legal history. We are not a country that recognises girlfriend or boyfriend or dating. We are a country that sanctifies one kind of relationship and that is marriage,” she added.
Marriages in India are more social than legal. There are times when several socially acceptable marriages do not go through legal proceedings. While same-sex marriages are not legally allowed, couples can opt for a Civil Union under the Special Marriages Act 1954.
With section 377 declawed, however many from the LGBTQ community came forward to challenge the illegality of same-sex marriage. Sonu and Nikesh Pushkaran, who secretly got ‘married’ at a Kerala temple in July 2018, has also submitted a petition at the Kerala High Court in order to legalise their marriage.
Today same-sex marriage is legal only in 29 countries of the world. Last year, Guruswamy and Katju came out as a couple in public and were included in Time Magazine’s list of 100 most influential people in the world. They believe that there will be more young people heading to courts, demanding for their right to marry legally, the ones they legally love.