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Calcutta HC Order Gives Homosexual Couples Double Reason to Celebrate Valentine’s Day This Time

In January, Calcutta High Court ruled that consensual cohabitation between two adults of the same sex is not illegal.

Prema Rajaram | CNN-News18

Updated:February 14, 2019, 10:28 PM IST
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Calcutta HC Order Gives Homosexual Couples Double Reason to Celebrate Valentine’s Day This Time
A News18 Creative.

This Valentine’s Day spelled double celebrations for India’s LGBTQ+ community. Not only was this the first V-day since the Supreme Court scrapped law criminalising homosexuality last year, this was also the first one since Calcutta High Court’s January ruling that said consensual cohabitation between two adults of the same sex is not illegal.

“Now I can claim it. Right to love is the right to survive,” said 31-year-old Avinaba Dutta as he celebrated February 14 with his 34-year-old partner Siddartha Sankar. Avinaba, a gender and sexuality researcher, is eager to buy a house with his artist partner in the near future without hiding his relationship and also hoping to avail housing loans.

In January, Calcutta High Court’s division bench of Justice Joymalya Bagchi and Justice Ravi Kishan Kapur had also ruled that “such self-determination in the matter of sexual preference or consensual intercourse, even if not procreative, is inherent for the enjoyment of life and liberty of every individual and is protected under our scheme of Constitutional morality and cannot be whittled down on the concept of morality or religion of others.”

“The Calcutta High Court order has taken Supreme Court’s 2018 verdict -- which had decriminalised same sex relationships-- one step forward,” said lawyer Debayan Sen, who appeared for a 24-year-old lesbian after she filed a writ petition. Her live-in partner was forcefully taken away by her family and had gone missing thereafter.

While homosexual couples continue to face social stigma, a large number of them are now coming out after the courts’ favourable decisions. Says Avinaba, “We perceive it as a legal recognition. While the Supreme Court order decriminalised gay sex, the Calcutta High Court order is one step forward as we can now legally live together.” Avinaba and Siddartha have been in a relationship for three years and their families are aware of their relationship.

While the challenges of acceptance by the society remain, the court orders are giving homosexual couples more courage to celebrate their love legally and now even build a home together. Avinaba and Siddartha are hopeful that one day they will also have the legal right to get married.

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