BBC sends 14 reporters to cover Indian same-sex marriage ruling

Oct 25, 2023

India’s Supreme Court has refused to legalise same-sex marriage as it is not its job to make the law – preventing what the BBC clearly hoped would be an LGBT triumph.

In his judgment, Chief Justice Dhananjaya Yeshwant Chandrachud wrote that it “lies within the domain of parliament and state legislatures to enact laws recognising and regulating queer marriage”.

This welcome ruling is in contrast to other jurisdictions, such as the United States, where in 2015 the Supreme Court claimed to discover a right to same-sex marriage in the Constitution.

The Indian ruling regarding marriage was unanimous. However, two of the five judges held that the state was obliged to recognise same-sex civil unions and permit adoptions by same-sex couples. They were overruled by their three colleagues.

There had been hope among LGBT activists that the judgment would be a historic moment for LGBT rights. The BBC sent 14 reporters to cover the story, with an additional three editors in London, and gave live updates throughout the day. The BBC News UK website boasted of its “comprehensive” coverage of the issue.

What does it say about the skewed state of the BBC’s priorities that it chose to devote so many resources to this story, particularly in a week where so much else was going on?

Most other notable socio-political issues happening in the world last week – such as the Australian referendum on aboriginal rights – were only assigned one reporter to write up the BBC story.

The public service broadcaster must have been very disappointed with the ruling after spending so much money and time to bring its “comprehensive” coverage to the nation.

But far from disappointing, the decision was the right one – not just legally but also ethically.

Country after country has shown that when you open up marriage to same-sex couples you undermine it. Marriage between one man and one woman is the cornerstone of a successful, stable society that honours men and women and cares for the next generation.

At C4M we commend the Indian court for sticking to the law and upholding real marriage. We will continue to speak out to ensure real marriage is never lost among the confusions of modern society.