A. General Comments
1.1 Since times immemorial, the institution of marriage has been given the highest importance in Hindu society, as a pillar for creating and maintaining a healthy family, and in turn a healthy society. The scriptures recognise the importance of marriage for the procreation of, and the nurture and physical and emotional well-being of, the progeny.
1.2 The marriage is seen as not only a ‘union’ of a man and a woman, but also coming together of the families of the bride and the bridegroom.
1.3 The act of marriage, termed Vivah / Lagna, conducted by an ordained priest and witnessed by the holy fire, by family members, other relatives and friends, becomes binding on the couple, during which the man and the woman, now to become husband and wife, commit themselves to each other, to their families, to society, and in particular to the forthcoming progeny.
2. Marriage, Secular Society, and Law
2.1 Hindus recognise that a number of individuals choose to live together in ‘civil partnership’ (without having been married in a religious ceremony).
2.2 We also accept that individuals of the same gender who choose to live together have a legal right to have their action registered as a ‘Civil Partnership’, and that they are entitled to the appropriate civic and legal rights following such registration.
2.3 We oppose any acts of discrimination against such individuals.
2.4 We are of the opinion that the term Marriage should mean the union in matrimony of a man and a woman, and that a term other than Marriage, e.g., ‘civil partnership’, should be used for the living together, otherwise, of individuals.
2.5 We welcome the proposal that religious places – in our case the Hindu mandirs (temples) – will retain the right only to undertake marriages according to the way prescribed by their faith.
B. Answers to the posed specific questions:
1. We agree that unions of individuals should be recognised in law, but are of the opinion that the term marriage should apply to the union of two individuals of opposite gender.
6. Same-sex couples should have the right of entering into ‘civil partnerships’.
8. Bearing in mind that Civil Partnership bestows ‘all relevant rights, responsibilities and protections to those available to opposite-sex couples through marriage’, we are of the opinion that there is no need for such partnerships to proceed to Marriage.