A Hindu group linked to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s party announced its opposition to marriage rights for same-sex couples, echoing the federal government’s position that marriage should be limited to male-female unions.
When a man and woman marry, it’s for the welfare of society, not for personal, sexual enjoyment, said Dattatreya Hosabale, general secretary of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh — the ideological parent of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party.
“Marriage is a sacrament in Hindu philosophy of life, not an instrument for enjoyment, nor a contract,” Hosabale said at a press conference on Tuesday, adding that a same-sex couple can’t marry for their personal interests.
A case to legalize same-sex marriage is currently before India’s Supreme Court, which on Monday formed a five-judge panel to hear arguments beginning in April. The government is against legalizing gay marriages and is pushing for the issue to be debated and decided only by parliament, where Modi’s ruling coalition holds a majority.
Earlier this year, RSS head Mohan Bhagwat seemed to suggest a softer stance, saying that the group wants LGBTQ people “to have their own private space and to feel that they, too, are a part of society.”
But with their statements this week, RSS and the Indian government have mirrored Singapore — which decriminalized sex between men in 2022, then amended the constitution to give only parliament the authority to define marriage. The legislators have so far firmly excluded same-sex couples.
A ruling in favour of the LGBTQ plaintiffs would cement marriage equality, and adoption, inheritance and other civil rights for India’s 1.4 billion people.