ANI Photo | DCPCR files intervening applications in petitions for legal recognition of same-sex marriages

Delhi Commission for the Protection Of Child Rights has filed an intervening application in petitions in the Supreme Court relating to legal recognition for same-sex marriages and stated government to take steps to create public awareness that same-sex family units are as “normal” as heterosexual family units.
DCPCR, in the application, submitted that from a psychological point of view, multiple
studies on same-sex parenting have demonstrated that same-sex couples can be good parents, or not, in the same manner, that heterosexual parents can be good parents or not.
DCPCR, in the application, urged the top court that the central and state government take steps to create public awareness that same-sex family units are as “normal” as heterosexual family units, and specifically that children belonging to the former are not “incomplete” in any way.
The plea sought to allow it to intervene in the ongoing petitions related to legal recognition of same-sex marriage equality. The officials working under the Commission have a total of 15 years of collective experience in dealing with issues pertaining to child rights and said that it would be able to assist this Court in adjudicating upon these issues.
In the application, it is submitted that on certain issues, society sometimes lags behind the law and based upon its wide-ranging work with children, the DCPCR, is concerned that the legalisation of same-sex marriages, and consequently, the granting of adoption rights and the existence of same-sex family units, will require additional safeguards to ensure children do not face any kind of social discrimination in spaces such as schools.
Therefore, the DCPCR urged the top court to consider passing directions to the central and state government to take steps to create public awareness that same-sex family units are as “normal” as heterosexual family units, and specifically that children belonging to the former are not “incomplete” in any way.
DCPCR also urged to issue directions, specifically, to school boards and educational institutions that this normalisation be proactively undertaken specifically in classroom contexts where issues touching upon same-sex family units are brought up.
It also urged to issue directions to the National and State Council for Education Research and Training (N/SCERT) to check and eliminate homophobic content in school textbooks.
It further sought to issue directions to the National and State Council for Education Research and Training (N/SCERT) to rewrite or re-envisage the passages, caricatures, diagrams and references to family to include a more diverse understanding of family and homosexual couples as examples within the meaning of the family.
DCPCR also sought to issue directions to the relevant authorities to create dedicated helplines for children facing stigma or bullying by virtue of belonging to a same-sex family unit.
It sought to urge to issue directions to the relevant authorities to set aside resources and create infrastructure for counselling and psychological assistance to children suffering from bullying or victimisation on account of belonging to same-sex family units.
DCPCR submitted that the impact of the legalisation of same-sex marriages upon the gendered language used in other statutes does not present any serious concern.

“Same-sex couples do not have any advantage or disadvantage with respect to being good or poor at parenting when compared to heterosexual couples. The relevant aspects in determining whether a couple can be good at parenting or not are, instead, the capacity for caring and the quality of the relationship between parent and child,” DCPCR submitted in the application.
DCPCR submitted that since the Netherlands’ legalisation of same-sex marriages in the year 2000, more than 34 countries have legalised same-sex marriages either through legislation or through Court decisions and currently, more than 50 countries allow same-sex couples to legally
adopt children, wherein, Israel and Lebanon are the only Asian countries that allow adoption for same-sex couples.
Earlier, Jamiat Ulama-I-Hind has moved an intervening application in Supreme Court in the matter pertaining to legal recognition of same-sex marriage, saying that as per the legal regime in the country, marriage is only between a biological man and a biological woman. Jamiat Ulama-I-Hind has supported the submission of the Centre on this issue.
The centre, in its affidavit filed earlier, had opposed the plea seeking legal recognition of same-sex marriage, saying that living together as partners by same-sex individuals, which is decriminalised now, is not comparable with the Indian family unit and they are clearly distinct classes which cannot be treated identically.
Same-sex relationships and heterosexual relationships are clearly distinct classes which cannot be treated identically, the government said as its stand against the petition seeking legal recognition of LGBTQ marriage.
It is for the legislature to judge and enforce such societal morality and public acceptance based upon Indian ethos, the centre said in its affidavit and added that western decisions sans any basis in Indian constitutional law jurisprudence, cannot be imported in this context.
In the affidavit, the centre apprised the apex court that living together as partners by same-sex individuals, which is decriminalised now, is not comparable with the Indian family unit concept of a husband, a wife and children.
On March 13, the Supreme Court referred the matter relating to the legal recognition of same-sex marriage to a five-judge Constitutional Bench.
Various petitions are being dealt with by Supreme Court seeking legal recognition of same-sex marriage under the Foreign Marriage Act, Special Marriage Act and other laws.
One of the petitions earlier raised the absence of a legal framework which allowed members of the LGBTQ+ community to marry any person of their choice.
According to the earlier petition, the couple sought to enforce the fundamental rights of LGBTQ+ individuals to marry any person of their choice and said that “the exercise of which ought to be insulated from the disdain of legislative and popular majorities.”
The petitioners, further, asserted their fundamental right to marry each other and prayed for appropriate directions from this Court allowing and enabling them to do so.

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