Prime Minister Narendra Modi strongly opposed the move and declared that any change to the law would be up to Parliament

India’s Supreme Court said on Tuesday it did not have the authority to legalize same-sex marriage, dashing the hopes of India’s LGBTQIA+ community of getting gay marriage recognized, despite opposition from the government.

– It is up to Parliament and the state legislatures to decide on the marriage law – ruled Chief Justice D.Y Chandrachud.

The judge stressed, however, that India has a duty to recognize same-sex relationships and protect them against any form of discrimination. On Tuesday, the court also authorized the recognition of marriage for couples whose members are transsexuals, as long as they are identified as “men” and “women”.

In April, five years after homosexuality was decriminalized in the country by the highest judicial institution, around 20 people and their lawyers succeeded in having the issue examined by the Supreme Court. The signatories of the petition argued that India should treat the LGBTQIA+ community as equal citizens, under the terms of its current Constitution.

Legalizing gay marriage would have allowed the LGTBQIA+ community fairer access to adoption, insurance and inheritance, supporters of the petition said.

The Hindu nationalist government of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi strongly opposed the change and declared that any amendment to the law would be up to Parliament, not the courts – a line that was eventually followed by the Supreme Court. In the opinion sent to the Supreme Court, the government argued that although there can be various forms of relationship, the legal recognition of marriage is specific to heterosexual relationships and the Indian state has an interest in maintaining this format.

Modi based his argument on the so-called Indian concept of family – described as a “statutorily, religiously and socially” accepted relationship between a biological man and a biological woman.

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