Centre seeks views of states on same-sex marriage amid Supreme Court hearing | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Centre seeks views of states on same-sex marriage amid Supreme Court hearing

By | Reported by Utkarsh Anand
Apr 19, 2023 10:43 AM IST

The same-sex marriage legality issue requires an assessment of state rules, and customs of different sections of society, the Centre said.

On Wednesday, the Centre filed a fresh affidavit in the same-sex marriage case before the Supreme Court seeking the views of the states and the Union Territories on the issue -- as a party to the case. "The matter falls within the legislative domain and thus views of all States and UTs on the same are necessary," the Centre said in the affidavit. As the top court is hearing the petitions seeking legal validation for same-sex marriage, the Centre opposed granting legality. It said the petitions seeking the legality of same-sex marriage reflect the "urban elitist views for the purpose of social acceptance".

In the matter of the legality of same-sex marriage, the Centre makes the states and UTs party.
In the matter of the legality of same-sex marriage, the Centre makes the states and UTs party.

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Now the Centre wants the states and the UTs to become a party in the case and they will have to submit their views within 10 days.

"Any decision on this matter requires an assessment of the ramifications on existing social customs, practices, values, norms, state rules and such like that may be prevalent in different sections of the society," the letter sent by the Centre read.

"It is important that a composite and cohesive view is presented before the court incorporating the views of all state governments for effective adjudication," the letter written to the chief secretaries of all states read.

On the issue of the Centre's letter to states, Mukul Rohatgi said he came to the top court challenging a central law and now the Centre's letter to the states is not relevant to his case.

"The notice was issued almost five months ago & this letter was sent only y'day. How is this relevant for my case?Our rights are cast in stone after two Constitution bench judgments. Our right has to now go forward, at least in the sphere of secular laws if not personal laws.. Effect of declaration of marriage must flow to secular parts such as gratuity, pension, adoption etc." Rohatgi said.

"In the Special Marriage Act (SMA), wherever 'husband' and 'wife' is used, make it gender neutral by using 'spouse'. And 'man' and 'woman' should be substituted by 'person'. A large part of problem will be solved through this interpretation," Mukul Rohatgi argued on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, the five-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud heard the submissions in favour and against the legality of same-sex marriage. One of the submissions was that even the Special Marriage Act has terms like “a man and a woman” and hence using the term ‘person’ instead may unsettle existing statutes.

The Supreme Court said the very notion of a man and a woman is not an absolute based on genitals pertaining to the discussion on gender.

“There is no absolute concept of a man or an absolute concept of a woman at all. It is not a question of what your genitals are. It is far more complex, that's the point. So, even when the Special Marriage Act says man and woman, the very notion of a man and a woman is not an absolute based on genitals,” the bench said.

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