The world is divided on marriage equality, but one country stands out in the debate with its own interpretation of the idea.
On Tuesday, India will become the sixth country to formalise its definition of marriage, a move that will allow couples to enter into a legally binding contract without the need for the intervention of a court.
The move comes as the country seeks to modernise its outdated legal system.
India is the only Asian country to allow same-sex couples to marry and is one of the few that does not recognise polygamy.
The move to formalize the definition comes as a part of a wider push to modernize the countrys laws, which are in stark contrast to Western democracies that have introduced legislation to legalise same-day marriages, same-gender civil unions and surrogacy.
More than half of India’s 2.5 million households have a spouse who is not a married man or woman, and one in five Indian couples have not been together for more than five years.
It is hoped that the move will allow the country to modernising its outdated laws, in a country where nearly one in four people do not identify as Indian.
There is no specific age requirement for marriage in India, but it is not uncommon for couples to start the process in their 20s and 30s, with the couple getting married later.
Marriage equality advocates say the move is an important step in addressing India’s gender-based inequalities and that the government needs to recognise that same- sex couples are just as entitled to marriage as their heterosexual counterparts.
Many believe the move may help India to better attract talent to the country and to attract international investors.
This article first appeared on The Times Of India.