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Supreme Court of India Issues Groundbreaking Directives for LGBTQ+ Rights and Same-Sex Marriage

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The Supreme Court of India has delivered a momentous verdict, issuing directives to both the Union government and state governments to combat discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community. These directives encompass a broad range of protections and measures designed to ensure equality and justice for queer individuals and same-sex couples. Here are the key directives, which signal a significant step toward safeguarding LGBTQ+ rights in India:

  1. Non-Discrimination: The government is mandated to ensure that there is no discrimination against the queer community concerning access to goods and services.
  2. Public Awareness: Efforts should be undertaken to sensitize the public about the rights and struggles of the queer community.
  3. Helpline for Queer Community: The establishment of a dedicated helpline is required to provide essential support and assistance to the queer community.
  4. Safe Houses: Safe houses must be established to offer protection and refuge to queer couples who may face threats or harassment due to their relationships.
  5. Inter-Sex Children: Inter-sex children are to be protected from forced operations and invasive procedures.
  6. Formation of Committee: The Supreme Court has recorded the statement of the Solicitor General that the Union government will form a committee to determine the rights and entitlements of individuals in queer unions.

In addition to these directives, the Supreme Court has also issued specific directions to the police:

  1. No Harassment: Law enforcement is instructed not to harass queer couples by summoning them to police stations or visiting their residences solely to inquire about their gender identity or sexual orientation.
  2. Freedom of Choice: Queer individuals should not be coerced into returning to their families if they choose not to do so.
  3. Protection of Freedom: When queer individuals file complaints alleging that their family is inhibiting their freedom of movement, the police must verify the genuineness of the complaint and ensure their freedom is not curtailed.
  4. Protection against Violence: If a complaint is filed apprehending violence from the family due to the complainant’s queer identity or relationship, the police are to verify the genuineness of the complaint and provide appropriate protection.

These directives collectively aim to protect and uphold the rights and well-being of the LGBTQ+ community in India, addressing various aspects of discrimination, harassment, and violence. The Supreme Court’s verdict stands as a significant milestone in the ongoing struggle for LGBTQ+ rights and recognition in the country.

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