India’s Supreme Court is set to begin hearing final arguments on several petitions seeking to legalise same-sex marriage. This decision could make India the 35th country to legalise same-sex unions.

The hearing and debate, which will be “live-streamed in public interest,” according to the court, is expected to be lively, with LGBTQ+ activists and same-sex couples hoping for a favourable judgement. At the same time, the government and religious leaders remain opposed to the idea.

Among the same-sex couples who have petitioned the Supreme Court to allow same-sex marriage in India are Dr Kavita Arora and Ankita Khanna, who have been waiting for years to tie the knot. Although their families and friends readily accepted their relationship, the couple has been unable to marry despite having been together for over a decade.


Ankita and Kavita are among nearly a dozen and a half couples who have petitioned the Supreme Court to legalise same-sex marriage in India, with three petitions being filed by couples raising children together.

Attitudes to sex and sexuality in India remain largely conservative, and most LGBTQ+ people are afraid to come out, even to their friends and family. Attacks on same-sex couples routinely make headlines, and activists say that a favourable decision from the Supreme Court would set off momentous changes in society. However, much opposition to same-sex marriage from the government and religious leaders remains.

The Indian government has urged the top court to reject the petitions, saying that marriage can only occur between a man and a woman who are heterosexual. Meanwhile, leaders from India’s main religions have opposed same-sex unions, insisting that marriage “is for procreation, not recreation.”

In a rare show of unity, 21 retired high court judges also weighed in on the subject, saying that legalising same-sex marriage would have a “devastating impact on children, family, and society.”

Last month, however, the petitioners received a significant boost when the Indian Psychiatric Society (IPS) stated support. The IPS, representing more than 7,000 psychiatrists in India, said that “homosexuality is not a disease” and that discrimination against LGBTQ+ people could lead to mental health issues.