SAME SEX MARRIAGE (Syllabus GS Paper 1 – Social Issues)

News-CRUX-10     28th March 2024        
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Context: Thailand’s lawmakers passed a legislation to recognize same-sex marriage, paving the way for the country to become the first in Southeast Asia to guarantee marriage rights for gay and lesbian couples.

Same Sex Marriage

  • Definition: Marriage between two men or two women is the practice known as same-sex marriage.
  • Global Regulation: In most countries worldwide, laws, religious beliefs, and customs have regulated same-sex marriage.
  • International Recognition: Over 30 countries legally perform and recognize marriages between same-sex couples as of 2022.
  • Recent Legalization: Mexico is the most recent country to legalize same-sex marriage.
  • Indian Legal Framework: The right to marry is not expressly recognized either as a fundamental or constitutional right under the Indian Constitution.
  • In India: No legal recognition of same-sex marriages and no constitutional or fundamental right to civil unions.

Key Facts: Global status of same sex marriage

  • Only about 36 countries worldwide have legalised same-sex marriages so far.
  • Nepal (June 2023) was the first South Asian country to do so.
  • The Netherlands was the first country to legalise same-sex marriages in 2001.
  • United States: It allowed same sex marriage in 2015.

Special Marriage Act, 1954

  • About: It is an Indian law that establishes a legal framework for marriages between individuals of diverse religions or castes.
  • Civil Regulation: It primarily regulates civil marriages, with the state's endorsement rather than religious institutions.
  • Feature Of SMA: Laws, such as the Muslim Marriage Act, 1954, and the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, require either spouse to convert to the religion of the other before marriage. However, the SMA enables marriage between inter-faith or inter-caste couples without them giving up their religious identity or resorting to conversion.
  • Applicability: The Act is applicable to individuals of all faiths, encompassing Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, Jains, and Buddhists, throughout India.
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