Abhay Dange and Supriyo Chakraborty, who have been together for eight years, formalised their relationship in what is possibly the first wedding of a gay couple in the Telugu states. Even though same-sex couples in India still cannot register their marriage under the law, the couple exchanged vows and rings in a “promising ceremony” on December 18. An intimate private ceremony was held in the outskirts of Hyderabad, attended by Abhay and Supriyo’s family and friends.
Thirty-one-year-old Supriyo and 34-year-old Abhay met on the social network platform PlanetRomeo eight years ago, according to The New Indian Express. While Supriyo, who is a hospitality professional and an educator, is from Kolkata, Abhay, a software developing manager, is from Delhi, according to The Hindu.
While there were no wedding rituals at the officiating ceremony, the celebrations included haldi and mehendi ceremonies with Bengali and Punjabi traditions, according to the Times of India. Pictures from the haldi ceremony showed the couple wearing the Bengali 'topor' or headgear which is usually part of the bride and groom’s attire in Bengali Hindu weddings. The sangeet function reportedly included Kathak performances. After the vows were exchanged and Abhay and Supriyo were pronounced ‘husband and husband’, Abhay sang the song ‘Aaye ho mere zindagi mein tum bahar banke’ to Supriyo, videos of which were shared widely on social media.
“Spent a rather different evening today. Attended a gay marriage at a resort close to Hyderabad between a faculty member of the Institute of Hotel Management and a senior manager of Amazon. The marriage vows were administered by a former manager of Deloitte who is trans. The families of the couple and a large number of their friends were there to witness an event that reflected how India is changing slowly but surely,” an attendee at the wedding told News18.
The couple had announced their decision to have wedding celebrations earlier in October, with many including Samantha Ruth Prabhu sharing the news on Twitter, congratulating the couple. The ‘promising ceremony’ was officiated by their friend, Sophia David, a trans woman and activist advocating for the rights of LGBTQI+ people.
While the Supreme Court struck down Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code in 2018, thereby decriminalising same-sex relationships, queer couples still cannot register their marriage under Indian law. However, this has not stopped many gay couples from formalising their relationships and celebrating them with friends and family.
Earlier in July 2018, Kochi-based IT professionals Nikesh Usha Pushkaran and Sonu MS got married at the Guruvayur temple in July 2018, exchanging rings in front of the deity. In December 2019, Nived Antony Chullickal and Abdul Rahim became the second openly gay married couple in Kerala.