Nationalist Congress Party leader Supriya Sule on Friday introduced a private member’s Bill in the Lok Sabha to legalise same-sex marriage and provide equal marital rights to the LGBTQIA+ individuals.
Private member’s Bills are introduced by MPs who are not ministers. The Bills introduced by ministers are called government Bills. According to the Delhi-based think tank PRS Legislative Research, no private member’s Bill has been passed by Parliament since 1970.
Sule, through the Special Marriage (Amendment Bill), 2022, proposed to amend the Special Marriage Act, 1954.
The Bill sought to solemnise same-sex marriage if both the men have completed 21 years of age. In case of women, it said the age limit should be 18 years.
It also proposed to replace the words “husband” and “wife” with spouse by amending the various sections of the Act.
In 2018, a verdict by the Supreme Court decriminalised homosexuality. On Friday, the Nationalist Congress Party leader said that LGBTQIA individuals continue to face “persecution, discrimination and social stigma within society” despite the judgement.
The Bill said that while people are able to determine their sexual orientation, LGBTQIA+ persons are still “unable to marry and start their own families” that heterosexual people are entitled to. They also have no access to rights that heterosexual couples are entitled to upon marriage, such as succession, maintenance and pension etc, the MP said.
Sule said the Bill will ensure that Article 14 (equality before law) and Article 21 (right to life and liberty) of the Constitution are upheld.