The Supreme Court of India declined to legalize same-sex marriage and instead deferred to parliament, declaring that the legislature is the proper place to adjudicate on the issue.
The US State Department said on Thursday that it was encouraging India to take steps to provide equal legal protection to same-sex couples and was “closely monitoring follow-up steps” from the Indian government after the country’s Supreme Court declined to legalize same-sex marriage.
The Supreme Court of India declined to legalize same-sex marriage on Tuesday, instead deferring to parliament, agreeing with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government that the legislature is the proper place to legislate on the matter.
The unanimous judgment by a five-judge panel came as a big disappointment to the world’s largest LGBTQ population, coming five years after the court overturned a colonial-era ban on gay sex.
“The United States supports marriage equality globally,” a representative for the US State Department stated. “We are closely monitoring follow-up steps from the government and reactions from civil society on this issue following the court’s ruling.”
The nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) administration of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has resisted court appeals on the topic, claiming that same-sex marriage is not “comparable with the Indian family unit concept of a husband, a wife, and children.”
“We will continue to voice our support for marriage equality and protections for LGBTQI persons against discrimination and encourage the Indian government to take the necessary steps to offer equal legal protection to same-sex couples,” a representative for the State Department said.
On Tuesday, Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud stated that the Supreme Court “cannot make law.” It can only interpret and have an influence on it.”
Asia, where traditional values continue to dominate society in many countries, falls far behind the West in accepting same-sex marriage.
The US State Department stated that it consults with the Indian government on human rights issues, including LGBT rights, on a regular basis.
Previous State Department reports have expressed concern about the persecution of religious minorities, journalists, and dissidents in India. New Delhi denies the existence of such prejudice.