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India’s highest court refuses to legalize same-sex marriage

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NEW DELHI — India’s highest court has refused to legalize same-sex marriages, with the country’s chief justice saying Tuesday that it was up to Parliament to create such a law.

Chief Justice DY Chandrachud also urged the government to uphold the rights of the queer community and end discrimination against them.

Earlier this year, the five justices heard 20 petitions seeking to legalize same-sex marriage in the world’s most populous country.

Learn more: Meet the couple leading the campaign to legalize same-sex marriage in India

Chandrachud said there were degrees of agreement and disagreement among the justices “on how far we should go” when it comes to same-sex marriages.

“This court cannot legislate. He can only interpret it and give effect to it,” the chief justice said, reiterating that it was for Parliament to decide whether it could extend marriage laws to include same-sex unions.

The legal rights of LGBTQ people in India have expanded over the past decade, and most of these changes are due to the intervention of the Supreme Court.

Learn more: Indian doctors tried to “cure” her with conversion therapy. Now she’s fighting to ban it

Tuesday’s ruling comes after the top court in 2018 struck down a colonial-era law that made same-sex sex punishable by up to 10 years in prison and expanded the gay community’s constitutional rights.

The ruling was seen as a historic victory for LGBTQ rights, with one judge saying it would “pave the way to a better future.”

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