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New Delhi: Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) MP Supriya Sule on Friday, April 1 introduced a private member’s Bill in the Lok Sabha to legalise same-sex marriage, and provide the same marital rights to LGBTQIA+ couples that heterosexual people are entitled to.
The Bill proposes to fix the age of marriage at 21 years if both partners are male, and 18 years for female partners.
It proposes to replace the words “husband” and “wife” with “spouse” by amending the various sections of the Special Marriage Act, 1954.
“In 2018, the Supreme Court struck down an archaic, draconian legislation of IPC — Section 377. Through this landmark judgment, Navtej Singh Johar v Union of India, homosexuality was effectively decriminalised. While this was a much-needed, progressive leap forward, LGBTQIA+ individuals still face discrimination and social stigma within society,” Sule said in a series of tweets after introducing the Bill.
While this was a much needed, progressive leap forward, LGBTQIA+ individuals still face discrimination and social stigma within society.
— Supriya Sule (@supriya_sule) April 1, 2022
In the statement of ‘Objects and Reasons’ of the Bill, Sule said, “While the determination of one’s sexual orientation has been realised, LGBTQIA+ individuals are still unable to marry and create their own families. In addition, LGBTQIA+ couples have no access to rights that heterosexual couples are entitled to upon marriage, such as succession, maintenance and pensions, etc. Therefore, it is of utmost importance to amend the Special Marriage Act, 1954, to legalise same-sex marriage, and provide Iegal recognition to married LGBTQIA+ couples.”
A similar private member’s Bill was introduced by Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) MP D.N.V. Senthilkumar S., which talked about providing rights to LGBTQIA+ persons so that they can live with dignity.
What’s a private member’s Bill?
A private member’s Bill is a legislation draft introduced by any member of parliament who does not hold the position of a minister. However, such bills are rarely considered in the Parliament, unlike the Government’s bills. Till now, only 14 private members’ bill have been passed by the Parliament.
Whether the private Bill has to be admitted or not is decided by the speaker of the Lok Sabha or chairperson of the Rajya Sabha.
The MP who wants to move a private member’s Bill has to give at least a month’s notice, for the House Secretariat to examine it for compliance with constitutional provisions.
A government Bill can be introduced and discussed on any day, whereas a private member’s Bill is only introduced and discussed on Fridays.
Private member’s Bills very rarely see the light of the day unlike a ‘government Bill’. So far, only 14 private member’s Bills have been passed, with six being cleared in 1956 alone.
(With inputs from PTI)