Nov 2023

Marriage Equality: Judgment, Justice, Journey

Friday, 3 Nov 2023, 4:30 pm-Friday, 3 Nov 2023, 5:45 pm

In its recent judgment, the Supreme Court has denied an equal right to marry for most queer persons and a fundamental right to marry for all persons. Vidhi is hosting a panel discussion on the subject on Friday, 3rd November, at 4:30PM at its New Delhi office. This event would also be available to watch via Zoom.

The panellists are: 
1) Saurabh Kirpal, Senior Advocate, Delhi High Court
2) Akkai Padmashali, Activist and Founder, Ondede
3) Gopal Sankaranarayanan, Senior Advocate, Supreme Court of India

About the discussion:
In the course of their opinions, as well as their responses to each other, the judges considered and discussed a wide range of related questions: 
* How do judges find rights not explicitly written in the Constitution? 
* Is marriage equality really about creating something new or is it about preventing exclusion from something old? 
* Does the existence of a fundamental right depend on its origin or on its significance for individual lives?

The judgment has many different answers to these questions and, as citizens, these answers will matter not just for queer persons, or for issues like marriage, but to fundamental rights in India generally. At the same time, the queer community is faced with a range of immediate concerns: 
* How will they navigate the law in forming relationships? 
* Will trans persons identifying within the binary be able to marry freely?
* What barriers will queer persons face in adopting individually? 
* Will they continue to be harassed by their families, other private persons and public authorities? 
* Will the Government act on the Court’s directions on protecting them and facilitating their unions?

Perhaps the judgment can serve as a starting point in a new leg of the queer rights movement in India. It certainly calls for a wider and deeper discussion about the legal regulation of relationships. This conversation cannot just be between lawyers, but instead requires us to draw from both legal analysis and an understanding of the socio-political reality of queer lives in India, marrying the two to shape a more promising future for all. 

This event would also be available to watch via Zoom.