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Thousands have turned out in protest of India’s same-sex marriage rights, calling on the nation’s government to move forward and recognise same-sex marriage.

Over 2,000 members of India’s LGBTQ+ community and allies took part in the Delhi Queer Pride March, which returned after a three-year hiatus due to Covid.

Waving rainbow flags while holding balloons and signs, the marchers made the over 1-hour journey to the Jantar Mantar area near India’s parliament.

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Speaking with the Associated Press, 23-year-old Vishal Rai explained how all the participants were eager to hit the streets for LGBTQ+ rights after the 3-year break.

“It’s good. It’s fabulous. Because we are here to celebrate ourselves, and after three years.”

Noor Enayat, who volunteered at the parade, also added how she hopes the actions of LGBTQ+ activists will see a positive change in LGBTQ+ rights in India soon.

“Give it another 20 years. It will be a very different world. So, I’m not going to be hopeless about it or say it’s not happening. It’s happening,” she added.

The 2023 Delhi Queer Pride March follows a recent Indian Supreme Court meeting that discussed marriage equality thanks to petitions submitted by same-sex couples.

Currently, India does not officially recognise same-sex marriage. However, the law currently allows couples to engage in an “unregistered cohabitation,” a partnership that fails to offer same-sex couples many rights, including inheritance of assets and adoption.

Despite the petitions and protests, India’s Narendra Modi’s government does not appear to be likely to change its marriage laws any time soon, with the administration saying in 2021 that same-sex couples in India “cannot claim a fundamental right for same-sex marriage.”

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