Same-Sex Marriage: As the big bench of the Supreme Court of India sat to decide whether to legalise same-sex marriage in the country, it also brought forth how the social and religious stigmas become strong considerations while it also becomes important to acknowledge the evolving social changes. While the Indian Apex Court hasn’t been subjected to such a dilemma for the first time various courts in the world accepted the evolving sentiments and legalized same-sex marriages.
As per reports from 2022, almost thirty-three countries have legalized such unions and the list includes the United States. Apart from the above list, several countries recognize the civil unions of same-sex people. Still, many countries do not recognize such marriages, which leads to LGBTQ+ rights remaining chequered across the globe. Although the United Nations has issued several resolutions to support these rights, still the human rights organizations working in space do not have the power to enforce them.
Let us have a look at the status of same-sex marriages across countries and nations.
The United States Constitution has granted same-sex couples, marriage rights, since the 2015 ruling in the Obergefell v. Hodges case. The historic ruling also legalized same-sex marriage in the thirteen states and US territories, where it was earlier banned. In 2022, it was feared that the Supreme Court could rule which could enable certain states to deny the legal right to same-sex marriages. Thus, the Respect for Marriage Act was passed, which recognized marriages across the federal structure of the country. 71 per cent of the US population voted in favour of the law, as compared to just 27 per cent, back in 1996, when voting was held for a similar law to be passed.
The countries that legalized same-sex marriages throughout Europe in the course of the last couple of decades include Norway, Spain, Sweden, Belgium, Portugal, Netherlands, France, Denmark, Iceland, Ireland, Germany, Luxembourg, Finland, Switzerland, Malta, Austria, Germany and the United Kingdom. Civil unions for same-sex were approved by Italian Parliament in 2016. Civil unions among same-sex were converted to civil marriages in Andorra in 2022. The first-every former Yugoslavia country, to legalize same-sex marriage in 2022 was Slovenia.
In 2017, the Taiwan Constitutional Court took a bold stance by ruling that marriage could no longer be limited to opposite-sex couples, granting parliament two years to act. The Taiwanese parliament passed historic legislation legalizing same-sex marriage, thus carving a path towards equality for all, and becoming the first country in Asia to do so.
Ecuador followed suit, with its Constitutional Court striking down the discriminatory ban on same-sex marriage in 2019. Meanwhile, in Costa Rica, the Supreme Court upheld the Inter-American Court of Human Rights opinion in support of marriage equality, paving the way for a brighter and more inclusive future.
Chile recently joined the list of the above nations, as their president signed a bill into law allowing same-sex couples to marry after it passed both the Senate and the lower house. And most recently, in a historic referendum, the people of Cuba voted to include provisions for same-sex couples to marry in their Family Code.
During the hearing of the case in the Supreme Court of India on April 19, the Chief Justice of India, D.Y Chandrachud said, “When you see it is innate characteristics then it counter urban elitist concept.. urban perhaps because more people are coming out of the closet. The government does not have any data also to show that same-sex marriage is an urban elitist concept.”
Data sources: cfr.org, hrc.org