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Same-Sex Marriage: 'Who Will Be Husband And Wife...?' Arguments Around Gender Continue In SC

Arguing for the Centre, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta asked, unlike a heterosexual marriage, if a person died, who would be called the widow or widower?

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta
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As the Supreme Court begins hearing arguments on same-sex marriage for the fifth day, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta raised concerns about specifying ‘mother’ and ‘father’, ‘husband’ and ‘wife’ in a same-sex marriage. In response to a series of arguments around gendered terms, the apex court said that it was time to update the laws on gendered terms. 

Arguing for the Centre, he said, “If your lordships were to read "person" in place of husband or wife, one person will have the right to claim maintenance from another. Meaning, in the case of heterosexual marriages - the husband can claim from the wife."

He also asked, unlike a heterosexual marriage, if a person died, who would be called the widow or widower? 

Raising the issue of mother and father, he argued, “For domicile, it cannot be decided who will be the woman. For passports etc, this issue will arise. Succession act provides for the widow, widower, husband, wife, father, mother etc.”
He added, “Let's say marriage is permitted. They adopt and then someone dies. Father and mother are an LGBTQ couple - who will be treated as father and who will be a mother? This is a dilemma and cannot be foreseen by your lordships.”

Further, diving deep into the specification of gender, he said that "man" and "woman" are defined under Section 10 and “the word 'man' denotes all the male human beings & 'woman' denotes all female human beings”.

A five-judge Constitution bench comprising Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud and Justices S K Kaul, S R Bhat, Hima Kohli and P S Narasimha is continuing with its hearing arguments on the pleas seeking validation of same-sex marriage for the sixth day on Thursday.

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