Kerala’s First Openly Married Gay Couple Filed A Petition To Legally Register Their Marriage. It’s About Time!
On 6th September, 2018, the Supreme Court of India decriminalised homosexuality. Senior Advocate Menaka Guruswamy and Advocate Arundhati Katju heralded this milestone reformation that dissolved a 157-year-old oppressive law. The fact that they’ve been a couple, I believe would have added to their undying resilience. The world rejoiced when section 377 went down and several same-sex couples got married in the past year, making this time even more significant. However, while it’s legal to be in a same-sex relationship, it’s still not legal to marry your partner. But Nikesh and Sonu, the first openly married (not on papers) gay couple from Kerala are aiming to change just that.
They have filed a petition in the Kerala High Court seeking to be able to register their marriage. Back in July 2019, the couple had gone to the Guruvayoor temple to get married but the authorities there rejected their request. Keen on formalising their relationship, the couple then got married secretly in the temple’s parking area, and in Nikesh’s words, “God was the only witness.”
Even though, to them they are as married as married can be, the Government doesn’t recognise that legally and hence, they are ripped of several rights that a heterosexual couple can enjoy. “The institution of marriage affords certain rights and privileges to the persons in matrimony in the society and due to the aforesaid exclusion, the homosexual couples like the petitioners are denied an opportunity to enjoy similar rights and privileges. Being married carries along with it the right to maintenance, right of inheritance, a right to own joint bank accounts, lockers; nominate each other as a nominee in insurance, pension, gratuity papers etc. All these are unavailable to the petitioners due to their exclusion from the institution of marriage, making the said exclusion more discriminatory,” the petition reads.
Nikesh and Sonu, in their petition also pointed that by not legalising homosexual marriage under the Special Marriage Act 1954, the Government is violating the principles of equality, non-arbitrariness, non-discrimination, individual dignity and personal autonomy under Articles 14, 15(1), 19(1)(a) and 21 of the Constitution of India.
The Kerala HC has issued notices to the governments of Centre and Kerala. However, last year, when a review petition was made seeking civil rights such as same-sex marriage, adoption and surrogacy for the LGBTQ community, the SC bench had dismissed it.
ALSO READ: A Lesbian Couple In Chennai Thrown Out Of A Hotel By Homophobic Staff. What Great Hospitality!
Last year, same-sex marriages became legal in Austria and they celebrated the same at #EuroPride 2019. The world is reforming and we, too need to catch up. Because decriminalising same-sex relationships is simply scratching the surface and if we want the LGBTQ+ community to be truly free, they need to have the right to legally get married!