David Asta Alares

New Delhi, April 17. Aditya Advani and Michael Tarr said ‘yes’ three decades ago in New Delhi, in a family ceremony presided over by a Hindu priest, but the lack of official recognition of same-sex unions in India has caused them many problems that d others “take for granted”. “

With Supreme Court petitions to uphold same-sex marriages, which India’s highest court begins to analyze tomorrow, the expectations of Advani, an Indian national, and Tarr, an American, and the LGBT community have never been higher despite government opposition.


“We met 30 or 32 years ago and some time later we came to India to visit my parents, and my mother had the idea that we could get married, so we thought it was a good idea,” Advani told EFE. landscape architect who returned to India ten years ago after living in the United States for years.

From Advani’s workshop in an affluent neighborhood of the Indian capital, Tarr recalled with a smile the spontaneity of the ceremony, organized in a week and with the services of a Hindu priest.

“You didn’t make plans like you do now,” Tarr explained.

Although in the eyes of their family and friends, Advani and Tarr have been married for three decades, and despite the fact that in the United States they are a common-law couple, the lack of recognition is “a problem” in India, where a British law over 150 years old, it criminalized same-sex relationships until it was overturned by the Supreme Court in 2018.

The issues range from Tarr’s status as a tourist, which has kept him out of the country during the coronavirus pandemic, to the inability to work or open a bank account.

“It is a serious problem because we have children, we are a family unit and not just a couple,” he explained, adding that they are parents of twins by gestational surrogacy before India n prohibit same-sex couples from having children in this manner.

Difficulties similar to those experienced by academic Ruth Vanita, straddling the United States and India with her companion, who married according to a religious ritual in the year 2000.

“Like many other such couples, my wife is considered a legal foreigner in India,” without access to lifetime visas that Indian-foreign heterosexual couples can obtain, he told EFE.

The lack of recognition affects Indian couples in other ways.

“A young lesbian couple, friends of mine, lived in Delhi for two years…one of them fell into a coma unexpectedly and was taken by her family, took all the medical and funeral decisions upon his death, as well as making all of their belongings,” Vanita explained.

“They treated their partner like a roommate,” she explained.


The academic, author of books on same-sex marriages in the Asian country, stressed that this type of union is not new or the product of Western influence as the most conservative sectors maintain.

“A lot of people don’t know how many young, low-income, non-English-speaking couples, many of them women, have been religiously married since at least 1987 across the country,” he explained.

Leela and Urmila, two policewomen who married with family approval in 1987, is one of the earliest examples Vanita knows of “before there was a gay movement in India or marriage equality all over the the world”.

The academic has also recorded more than two hundred cases of homosexual couples who “either married or committed suicide together, or sometimes both” since the 1980s.

Vanita hopes the courts will recognize the rights of same-sex couples in India “sooner or later, I hope sooner”.

An ambition shared by Advani, for whom this measure would mean a “normalization of millions of lives” in a country which “has never been inherently homophobic”, and which according to him inherited the repressive attitude of Victorian England towards homosexual unions. .

While all eyes are on India’s Supreme Court, having decriminalized homosexuality in 2018, the government’s opposition to same-sex marriage expressed last March is causing concern. ECE



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