For a lot of gay couples, the Supreme Court verdict on marriage equality came as a disappointment as a five-judge Constitution Bench, headed by Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud, in a 3:2 verdict rejected petitions seeking same-sex marriage and left it for the legislature to decide on the issue.
However, for gay couple Utkarsh Saxena, a lawyer and development economist, and Ananya Kotia, a PhD student at London School of Economics, the week wasn’t all about disappointment as they exchanged rings in front of the Supreme Court building in Delhi a day after the verdict. They vowed to continue their fight for their rights.
Saxena, donning his lawyer robes, went down on one knee to propose to his partner Kotia, who posted the photo on X, formerly Twitter. Kotia said they were hurt by the SC judgment that denied them their rights but they went back to the court to exchange rings. “So this week wasn’t about a legal loss, but our engagement. We’ll return to fight another day,” Kotia wrote on X.
Yesterday hurt. Today, @utkarsh__saxena and I went back to the court that denied our rights, and exchanged rings. So this week wasn’t about a legal loss, but our engagement. We’ll return to fight another day. pic.twitter.com/ALJFIhgQ5I
— Kotia (@AnanyaKotia) October 18, 2023
In an exclusive chat with The Indian Express, Saxena said he had already planned to propose to his partner on the day of the judgment.
“We were, of course, hoping that the judgment will be favourable. I had surreptitiously tried to take measurement of my partner’s ring finger while he was sleeping. But I still wasn’t sure. So, I bought a trial ring from Janpath. On the day of the judgment, of course, I didn’t feel up to it. Moreover, we left the court quickly because we were quiet upset. I told my partner about my plans that night. My partner said I should have proposed that day because that would have made the day better for him,” he said.
When Saxena told his mother about this, she too got emotional and said he should have gone ahead with it. So, the couple decided to go to the court the next day and decided to make it official.
“We didn’t want their memory of the week to be tainted by the setback but coloured with hope,” Saxena said.
“I can see our post gave a lot of people hope and joy. The community needs it now more than ever. We are, considering our legal options and next steps. But the queer community of all communities knows resilience. Even in the journey to decriminalisation of homosexuality, we faced a setback in 2013 before triumphing in 2018 at the Supreme Court,” Saxena said, one of the 21 petitioners who was also a lawyer in the case.