Gay couple wed in India despite same-sex marriage laws

Supriyo Chekraborty and Abhay Dange became the first gay couple to say “I do” in the region of Telangana.

Gay couple Supriyo Chekraborty and Abhay Dange hold
Image: Twitter: @PreetiBiswasTOI

On Saturday, December 18, a gay couple in India unofficially wed despite same-sex marriage still being illegal in the country. Supriyo Chekraborty and Abhay Dange held a private “promising ceremony” in the southern state of Telangana, becoming the first-ever queer pairing in the region to do so.

India finally decriminalised homosexuality in 2018 but has yet to reform marriage laws. Because of this, the couple’s union is not legally recognised, but the pair expressed that they wanted to find a way to officially mark their relationship despite this.

Chakraborty and Dange celebrated their eight-year partnership in white tuxedos and exchanged rings and vows in front of sixty family members and close friends. The ceremony was held with Bengali and Punjabi traditions and was officiated by a trans woman, Sophia David.

Speaking on the significance of the event, the duo who met on a dating app said, “We hope to live in a world with no closets.”

They continued by saying: “Our parents weren’t initially the most supportive. However, they also didn’t disapprove of it either. They decided to give us and themselves a good amount of time to introspect and come to a better conclusion. Now, we have their acceptance.”

According to reports, the gay couple expressed that attitudes in India continue to be divided when it comes to homosexuality, but they believe that their relationship will give hope to closeted people and couples, and help to normalise LGBTQ+ relationships.

“Ever since we declared our union, we have received mixed reactions from people. At large, people have been very supportive of our relationship and this ceremony was just a celebration of the same.”

On the same weekend in Bengaluru, over 5,000 people marched in the 14th edition of Namma Pride, calling for improved LGBTQ+ rights in India, including the legalisation of same-sex marriage.

Yash, a volunteer at the march said, “We have come a long way. Our first effort was the abolition of Section 377 and now we want legal recognition for same-sex couples and parents.”

Transgender issues were also brought to the forefront with Uma, a trans woman, saying: “We want the ministry of education to implement a sensitising module in schools and colleges because discrimination can be unlearned there. We are also committed towards suicide prevention in the transgender community as suicides have been on the rise since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.”

Stephie Sheryl added to this, stating: “The government is only serving the interests of gender-compliant people. We have always been ignored but now we would like to see reservations for our community in government jobs.”

Should India legalise same-sex marriage, it would become just the second nation in Asia, behind Taiwan, to do so.

© 2021 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

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