By Nita Bhalla
NEW DELHI (TrustLaw) – A court in northern India has effectively recognised the marriage of a lesbian couple even though same-sex marriages are illegal in India, the Times of India reports.
The couple had to flee their village and seek protection from the authorities, it said.
The two women – Beena and Savita – from a village on the outskirts of New Delhi in Uttar Pradesh state, were married last month by signing an affidavit before a public notary, according to the report.
The couple ran away and sought refuge in the courts after being stigmatised and threatened by their families and community.
“While granting police protection to a runaway lesbian couple from Khekada village in Baghpat (district), Additional Sessions judge Vimal Kumar recorded matter-of-factly that Beena and Savita claimed to be married to each other,” the paper said.
“Their statements were recorded in the order without any indication that such a marriage had no legal status.”
Despite a ruling by the New Delhi High court in 2009 decriminalising gay sex, homosexuality remains largely taboo in a country where public hugging and kissing even among heterosexuals invites lewd comments and sometimes beatings.
Same-sex marriages are illegal and couples who wish to live together are often disowned and can be victims of “honour killings” for bringing disrepute on their family and community.