Gay marriages groom anti-Aids battle
TIMES NEWS NETWORK
VADODARA: Married in both Hindu and Muslim traditions, Hanif and Zubair — in their early 20s — may draw flak from society. But in the gay community, they are treated as role models. Admired for their commitment to a single partner, the couple is also spearheading the HIV prevention campaign of Lakshya, an NGO working for homosexuals' rights.
Hanif and Zubair are Vadodara's one of the many same sex couples, who have dared to exchange vows. The couple had a 'nikah' ceremony attended by friends and well-wishers. And for the Hindu ceremony, they brought in a pandit.
Lakshya Trust project officer Sylvester Merchant says, "In four years, we have facilitated at least 15 gay marriages and soon hope to introduce a gay couple club to extend emotional support. Gay marriages are a boon as the group is already at a high risk of contracting Aids. The marriages will promote single-partner sex, which will help the HIV prevention campaign."
Although such marriages don't have legal sanction, activists believe rituals can have a dual impact. On the one hand it sends a message to society that they have equal rights and on the other, it is an indication to other gays that the couple is 'going steady'.