A same-sex wedding between two cousins took place in the Indian holy city of Varanasi last week. Despite India not allowing same-sex weddings, the couple refused to leave until a priest married them.
Apparently concerned by the prospect of arranged marriages, the two women travelled to Varanasi from their home town.
They wanted their relationship blessed.
Although India does not recognise same-sex marriage, the Supreme Court decriminalised homosexuality last year.
Gopalji, a temple accounts keeper, told the Times of India that the women arrived at his temple by car from the town of Kanpur.
They asked about a wedding ceremony. When Gopalji asked about their grooms they stated they wanted to marry each other.
They said they were cousins, good friends and wanted to spend their lives together.
Further, they shared a concern their parents may separate them through arranged marriages. The two women apparently became close while living together to attend university.
When no one could perform the ceremony at the first temple, they left for another dedicated to Shiva.
Varanasi Same-sex wedding video
At that temple, they took the long red scarves traditionally worn at Indian weddings out of their bags and put them on over their jeans and t-shirts.
When the priest refused to perform the ceremony, the women simply stayed in the temple until he relented.
They then offered prayers, exchanged garlands, and applied vermillion to each other’s foreheads.
A large crowd of people gathered during the ceremony, according to the priest, but the women departed before “any untoward incident could take place.”
The story went viral in India after the women posted a wedding pic to social media.
Most Indian media reported the wedding in a straight-forward manner though one displayed admiration for the women in a wonderful sub-heading.
“These women had the courage to stand up against all taboos and won our hearts with their guts!”
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