According to Bhagwat, Hindu-based LGBT+ people "should have their own private and social space as they are human beings and have the right to live like others," Reuters news agency reports.
Bhagwat's organization, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, was the foundation of Hindu nationalist Prime Minister Narendra Modi's political career. The leader's statements are particularly striking given that Modi's party has always opposed same-sex marriage. So Bhagwat's view may cause Modi to change course.
This month, India's Supreme Court began hearing a case to recognize same-sex marriage after four gay couples declared they cannot access rights such as medical clearance, pensions, adoption or even club memberships without legal recognition. The Indian government is expected to make its position known to the court.