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 Evolving stance of Indian political parties regarding LGBTQ+ rights and same-sex marriage

  • From opposing the legalisation of same-sex marriage in the Supreme Court of India initially, to maintaining a diplomatic silence after the Court handed down its eventually disappointing judgment in 2023 (in Supriyo @ Supriya Chakraborty & Anr. vs Union of India), the Congress party has released its Nyay Patra, its election manifesto for 2024, which has a dedicated section on the rights of senior citizens, persons with disabilities, and LGBTQIA+ people.

  • The party promises that, if elected to power, they would fulfil the Court’s mandate of ensuring a high-powered committee at the Union government level is set up to hold widespread consultations with relevant stakeholders to pass a law legalising civil unions for LGBTQ+ couples.

  • However, the Rajasthan Congress, led by Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, weighed in, stating in his submissions that legalising same-sex relationships would create “imbalance” in the social fabric of the country, and would lead to “widespread consequences for the social and family systems”

  • It is also rather odd that the Congress party promises passing a new law on civil unions even before starting the consultative process and prematurely foreclosing the possibility of recognising LGBTQ+ marriages (civil unions are not the same as marriages)

  • The CPI(M) general election manifesto contains a promise for legally recognising and protecting same-sex couples’ rights in a form “similar to marriage” — but not the same as marriage. 

  • LGBTQ+ couples, it seems have “partial allies” among the Opposition and no allies within the ruling BJP on this issue

Whether State governments can pass laws favourable to LGBTQ+ couples?

  • If opinion polls are anything to go by, the BJP is projected to win comfortably in the general election. 

  • That said, State governments still have a lot of latitude to pass laws favourable to LGBTQ+ couples

  • Marriage and divorce, after all, fall in the concurrent list of the Indian Constitution, meaning that both State and central governments have latitude to pass laws on this subject.

  • While it is significant that the Congress and the CPI(M) have added LGBTQ+ rights to their manifestos, their half-hearted approach defies their liberal credentials and begs the question whether they genuinely care about LGBTQ+ rights or are just queer-baiting, trying to woo the LGBTQ+ vote by handing out breadcrumbs instead of the actual pie



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Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam: LGBTQ+ rights UPSC NOTE
Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam
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