Marriage has always been an institution that every young person aspire to be a part of, both in the contemporary world and throughout history. Marriage has been discriminatory towards some populations of people from its origin, despite being an institution so firmly intertwined in society that everyone is supposed to be a part of it. Every time a group of individuals is allowed or denied the right to marry, a fight between state policy, religion, and societal norms take place. When societal elements such as religion and morality are factored into the definition of marriage’s nature and scope, the meaning of marriage changes as well. The marriage institution in society is often considered to be solely that of male-female, yet most marriage legislation are gender-neutral.
RELIGIOUS PERSPECTIVE ON MARRIAGE
One of the most prevalent aspects of mainstream religions is the prescription of marital rites and norms of behaviour. All three main religions in India, Hinduism, Islam, and Christianity, have their definitions and practices regarding marriage. None of them openly allow or even recognize same-sex marriage.
HINDUISM– Marriage is described in Hinduism as the union of two people for life so that they might seek Dharma, Artha, Kama, and Moksa together. Hindu weddings are legally recognised and are often between members of the opposing sex. There have been a few cases where persons of the same sex have married, but authorities have refused to recognize the marriage. Although same-sex marriages are only acknowledged in a few corners of modern Hindu society, this hasn’t stopped certain priests from organizing same-sex weddings. Homosexuality is condemned upon by certain Hindus. According to Hinduism, it is ‘natural’ for men and women to marry and have kids. Those who oppose this natural bond are going against their dharma.
CHRISTIANITY– There is no clear concept of marriage in the Christian worldview. Several biblical verses appear to suggest that marriage is a partnership between a man and a woman. For instance, according to the Bible, men should love their spouses like Jesus loved the church. Despite the fact that there is no official definition of marriage, most traditional Christian communities and churches do not accept same-sex marriages. They feel that only “traditional” weddings should be permitted. Due to a passage in the Old Testament, some far-right groups think that homosexuals should be stoned to death.
Traditional religions have been hesitant to embrace same-sex weddings or even non-heteronormative sexual relationships. Marriage between same-sex spouses is not possible, according to orthodox religion.
ISLAM– Marriage is seen as a legal contract or “matrimonial contract” between two individuals in Islam. The bride is expected to freely consent to the marriage. A religiously legitimate Islamic marriage necessitates a formal, binding contract. Accepting persons of the same sex in sexually active partnerships is frowned upon in Islam. Muhammad is claimed to have mandated the death punishment for both active and passive partners in same-sex acts. The moral or theological rationale is that anybody who engages in homosexual acts disrupts the balance of God’s creation, and so is a rebellion against God. As a result, it’s safe to assume that people of the same sex could never marry, and even if they did, they’d never be able to complete such a relationship.
UNDER HINDU MARRIAGE ACT
The Hindu Marriage Act covers the marriage of any two Hindu persons, as well as associated issues such as divorce. It applies to everyone living in India who is a Jain, Buddhist, or Sikh by faith. Marriage in the Hindu religion is regarded to have a divine origin and is a holy union of two persons for the purpose of completing religious responsibilities, according to the Act. In the current social climate, the most practical course of action would be to recognize marriages between people of the same gender under personal laws.
The Hindu Marriage Act stipulates that the bridegroom must be twenty-one years old and the bride must be eighteen years old at the time of marriage. The Christian Marriage Act uses the terms man and woman to provide a similar provision. Almost of Indian personal laws see marriage as a heterosexual relationship. The Hindu Marriage Act does not specifically prohibit same-sex weddings. A few ways that can be used in order to recognize them under personal laws are as follows:
- Existing legislation can be construed in such a way that same-sex weddings are permitted.
- Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) might be viewed as a distinct group whose norms allow for same-sex weddings.
- If the Act is not interpreted in such a way as to enable same-sex marriage, it will be declared unconstitutional.
Finally, make necessary changes to the Act itself.
The Hindu Marriage Act specifies the following requirements for a marital union:
- Union of Spirits- Male/female or man/woman are not used in the Act. As a result, gays can fit right in.
- There is no specific prohibition in the Act that marriage can only be solemnised between two people of the same gender. Section 2 of the Act specifies who is eligible to marry under it.
- Customary rites and ceremonies- Section 7 states that a marriage can be solemnised using either party’s customary procedures. If the rituals are not completed correctly, the marriage is nullified. Under the Act, these rituals must be proven in order to be considered a valid marriage.
- Bride and groom-The terms bride and groom are only used in Sections 5(ii) and 7(2). The rest of the text uses neutral words such as “person” or “party.” The terms bride and bridegroom can be seen as roles that individuals in a relationship may choose. As a result, the Act is gender-neutral except in these two parts, where bride and bridegroom are used. As a result, we may legitimately argue that if one person performs the part of the bride and the other plays the role of the bridegroom, the same-sex can solemnize their marriage.
UNDER SPECIAL MARRIAGE ACT
The Special Marriage Act of 1954 provides for a special form of marriage between partners who do not want to be bound by their own laws, regardless of their faith or religion. Making changes to the Special Marriage Act to allow same-sex weddings is an option that should not provoke religious hate. Unlike weddings under the Hindu Marriage Act, this Act does not require religious ceremonies and customs to be conducted for a legal marriage.
However, the current version of the Act only applies to heterosexual couples since it uses terms like “man” and “female” to define the age restrictions. A modification to Section 4(c) is necessary to include homosexual weddings under the Act, or it may include a special provision to specifically authorize the same. Many nations have passed legislation allowing same-sex marriages. In 2001, the Netherlands became the first country to allow same-sex marriage.
There isn’t a single reason why same-sex weddings shouldn’t be permitted, apart from a lack of understanding of the requirements of same-sex couples and prejudice. The government has committed a huge blunder since it is unable to make necessary changes to current laws and has not created separate legislation to address these concerns.
Various cultures have different interpretations of marriage. It is primarily an organization that attempts to recognize intimate ties such as a person’s family and sexual relationship. It is obvious that homosexuals endure prejudice and intolerance, as well as isolation from mainstream society. The causes might be personal or social in nature. Same-Sex weddings are now allowed in 29 of the world’s 195 nations. However, it is still considered forbidden in India, where they are referred to as impure and unnatural. As a result, the LGBT community is subjected to a system of institutionalized discrimination.
While same-sex weddings are not officially forbidden in India, there is no law that makes it feasible to marry without ambiguity. In India, there have been cases of same-sex weddings taking place. Despite the fact that the Indian government has not formally acknowledged them in terms of formal recognition, same-sex weddings are not possible in India. It is about time for the government to legalize same-gender weddings and pass legislation controlling their marriages, adoptions, inheritances, and maintenance, among other things.
Author’s Name: Tushar Singh Samota (University of Rajasthan)