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The Indian government has submitted a 56-Page letter of opposition against same-sex marriage ahead of a supreme court hearing to recognise the unions.

The Indian Supreme Court, which is set to start its hearing on legalising same-sex marriage today (Monday, the 13th of March), will also hear from the four same-sex couples who propose having the same rights and protections as heterosexual people. 

While India does not recognise same-sex marriage, the nation acknowledges what is known as an “unregistered cohabitation”, which offers limited legal protections for couples.

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In response to the legal challenges being heard in the Supreme Court, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his government have hit back, saying that homosexual relationships are “not comparable” to heterosexual ones. 

“Living together as partners and having sexual relationship by same-sex individuals [which is decriminalised now] is not comparable with the Indian family,” the government’s Ministry of Law stated in the 56-Page letter given to the court.

The government continued by describing heterosexual marriage as the “norm throughout history” and “foundational to both the existence and continuance of the State.”

Speaking with Reuters, Uday Raj Anand, (one of the litigants who wants to marry his partner Parth Mehrotra) explained how the couple “can’t do so many things in the process of living together and building a life together” without same-sex marriage being legalised. 

India’s Supreme Court hearing on same-sex marriage follows significant progress being made across the region in LGBTQ+ rights, including both Singapore and Sri Lanka legalising homosexuality. 

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