India: Marriage Equality, Now!

Marriage equality is now a reality in 34 countries around the world, allowing thousands of LGBT+ couples around the globe to tie the knot.

India could be country 35: its Supreme Court ruled that it's now up to the authorities to provide millions of LGBT+ Indians with equal rights.

Take action now and ask the Indian authorities to say "yes" to marriage equality now!

LGBT+ Indians are close to making history, but they still can't legally marry, and their families are not recognized under current law.

In October 2023, the Supreme Court of India told the government to create a special committee tasked with making sure LGBT+ people and their families have equal rights. These rights include being able to marry, adopt children, inherit property, and receive the same financial benefits as others.

Now, it's up to the Indian Parliament to agree on marriage equality, and the government of India to put the court’s decision into action, making sure LGBT+ families are treated equally under the law.

Indian activists are working hard for this change, but they need your support to keep up the international pressure. Will you help?


"The right to enter into a union cannot be restricted based on sexual orientation…Thus, this freedom is available to all persons regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation…"

“… The report of the Committee … shall be implemented at the administrative level by the Union Government and the governments of the States and Union Territories.”

“…everyone enjoys the right to choice, dignity, non-discrimination, and privacy…”


We call on the Indian authorities to fulfill their responsibility of guaranteeing equal rights for LGBT+ people and families, including their right to marry.

Goal:  0

To the Indian Parliament and the Government of India:

We advocate for the legal recognition and protection of LGBT+ families, aligning with the promise of equality under Article 14 of the Constitution of India. We implore the Indian Parliament to legislate marriage equality, and urge the Government of India to comply with the Supreme Court judgment and promptly establish a High-Powered Committee, inclusive of LGBT+ representatives. This committee should focus on:

Legal recognition of unions between consenting adults, regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation;

Equal rights to adoption, regardless of gender or marital status;

The entitlement to designate any chosen individual as next of kin in medical and legal scenarios;

Legal acknowledgement of any chosen individual as family in taxation and financial matters;

Prohibition of discrimination against LGBT+ couples and families in legal, social, and public realms.


Your actions in these matters will significantly propel the rights and dignity of LGBT+ individuals and their families, ushering in a more inclusive and equitable era in India's society.

Understanding Marriage Laws in India

In India, both the national and local governments have a say in how marriages work. There are two types of marriages - religious and civil. There are specific laws for different religious marriages like Hindu, Christian, Muslim, and Parsi.

Civil marriages are a bit different. They are under something called the Special Marriage Act, which lets people get married no matter their religion. This act was made to help couples who couldn’t marry because of religious laws, like those from different faiths.

The Special Marriage Act is not tied to any religion, which makes it a good starting point to bring marriage equality for LGBT+ people.

Let’s keep pushing for marriage equality in India by signing the petition!

Beyond Marriage

Many LGBT+ people in India face harm or mistreatment from their own families. To find safety and support, they often create new families with friends or partners. These new families can be both romantic or just friendly. Here, LGBT+ people find comfort and a sense of belonging.

Besides wanting the right to marry, LGBT+ people in India also want the law to recognize these chosen families.

What did the Indian Supreme Court say about marriage Equality?

The Court said LGBT+ people have the right to be in unions and spoke against the unfair treatment LGBT+ couples face.

It mentioned that straight, trans, and intersex men and women have the right to marry under the current laws, and that applies to both religious and civil marriages.

Since marriage law falls under the Parliament and state legislatures, not the Court, the Court said they can't make marriage equality happen unilaterally. It's up to these law-making bodies to change the laws and bring legal equality to LGBT+ couples and families.

The Court told the government to create a “High-powered Committee” that includes LGBT+ people. This group should work on giving LGBT+ unions more rights and making sure LGBT+ families have the same rights as other families.


The decision came from a group of five judges, and they didn't all agree. Two judges were in favor of legal recognition of LGBT+ unions and equal rights for LGBT+ families. The other three judges said it's the job of the Parliament, the government, and the states to stop the unfair treatment of LGBT+ people in India.

What's the current situation?

Right now, India doesn’t legally recognize same-sex marriages or civil partnerships.

Straight, trans, and intersex men and women can marry under the current laws.

If you’re LGBT+ and single, you can adopt a child. But unmarried couples, whether they are LGBT+ or not, can’t adopt.

When it comes to deciding next of kin, medical decisions, and financial matters, “family” still means being connected by “blood, marriage, or adoption.”

What happens next?

The government in India has to create a committee. This group will look at the current laws and suggest changes to give equal rights to LGBT+ unions and families.

If the Parliament doesn’t make a new law, each state in India can make its own laws about marriage and civil unions. So, states that support LGBT+ rights need to change their laws now.

What are the challenges?

The government of India didn't support marriage equality in the Supreme Court. They might not work actively to improve rights for LGBT+ unions and families.

The government will likely try to create a committee that doesn’t have enough LGBT+ people in it, and make decisions without talking to the LGBT+ community.

The recent decision by the Supreme Court has caused more negative feelings towards the LGBT+ community, both from the public and government officials.

What can I do?

Keep up the pressure!

Indian activists won’t stop fighting for LGBT+ rights, and they need your support!

Raise your voice along with activists, demanding the government of India follows through on the Supreme Court’s decision.

Akkai Padmashali has been a driving force for major legal advancements for LGBT+ people in India, including the recognition of transgender people as a third gender and the decriminalization of homosexuality.


Uma P has been involved in expanding the legal rights of LGBT+ people in India and has significantly advanced LGBT+ people’s access to mental health care, gender change on documents, and housing and employment.


Born in Mumbai, Zainab is a transgender person and is one of the petitioners in the National Legal Services Authority v. Union of India case on transgender rights and in the marriage equality case.

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