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Same-sex couples need social security: SC to Center

Same-sex couples need social security: SC to Center

The Supreme Court asked the Union government how far it is willing to go in taking “administrative” steps to ensure social security and welfare benefits for such couples even in the absence of legal recognition of marriage.

A Constitution bench, headed by Chief Justice of India Dhananjaya Y Chandrachud, said that when the government concedes that same-sex couples have a fundamental right to cohabit and celebrate their unions, a mere statement of denying them legal recognition of marriage will not augur well with a welfare State.

“Once you accept the fact that same-sex couples have a right to cohabit, there is a corresponding duty on the State to at least recognise that cohabitation...all the social incidents of that cohabitation must find recognition in the law...As a welfare State, as a democratic State, these are aspirations of the people that there has to be some recognition. So, what can the State do?” the bench said.

“Why we are trying to push you to this is because we take your point that if the court were to accept the petitioners’ arguments, the court will be legislating and that it’s not the remit of the court. It’s for Parliament or state legislature. But short of that, our law has gone so far now, what will the government want to do to ensure that these cohabitatory relationships or relationships based on cohabitation or association must be recognised in the terms of creating the same sense of security, social welfare? By doing that we also ensure that for the future, these relationships cease to be ostracised in society,” it added.

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