Millions of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) people in India were unhappy when the Supreme Court ruled that only Parliament and state legislatures could legalise marriages, refusing to recognise same-sex couples.
The court rejected, by a vote of 3-2, to protect civil unions under the constitution and to grant gay couples the right to adopt children. The court reasoned that forcing the state to recognise or legalise certain unions would go against the theory of separation of powers and might have unanticipated repercussions.
“This court cannot make law; it can only interpret it and give effect to it. The court, in the exercise of the power of judicial review, must remain clear of matters, particularly those impinging on the policy which falls in the legislative domain," the verdict said.
The Supreme Court also rejected the plea on right of adoption to queer couples, in a setback for the push for equal treatment of those with alternative sexual orientations. Despite repeatedly asserting that queerness is neither urban nor elite, a bench of Chief Justice DY Chandrachud and Justices Sanjay K Kaul, SR Bhat, Hima Kohli and P S Narasimha disappointed the hopeful faces in the courtroom with a unanimous ruling that the right to marry was not a fundamental right and the legislature had the power to regulate it in accordance with societal conditions.