Mumbai Mom Posts India's First-Ever Gay Marriage Ad for Her Son

In Depth

Gay marriage is not only illegal, it’s criminalized in India. But that didn’t stop one mother of a human rights activist from posting an ad in the paper seeking an arrangement for her son, who she was worried might be lonely after she was gone. The groom’s now got six offers; he wants much, much more.

According to Reuters, Padma Iyer broke all sorts of social taboos when she posted an ad seeking a qualified mate for her son.

Here’s the ad Iyer wrote:

“Seeking 25-40, well-placed, animal-loving, vegetarian GROOM for my SON (36, 5’11”) who works with an NGO,” said the advertisement in the Mumbai tabloid Mid-Day.

The tabloid wasn’t Iyer’s first choice for publication of her son’s single status.

Iyer’s son, Harish, who is a prominent human rights activist, said the matrimonial was prompted by the normal wish any mother has to see her son settle down. He has already received six responses to the advert.
However, he added, it was a challenge to find a newspaper to publish it.
In an opinion piece, Iyer said he was angry when the advert was rejected by two newspapers – the country’s most popular national English daily The Times of India and the Mumbai tabloid DNA – over legal issues.
The Hindustan Times, another major English daily, did not respond to his email to place the advert on behalf on his mother, he added.

Harish believes that the newspapers refusing the ad (which has now gone viral) is a sign of how biased India is against sexual minorities. The country removed a ban on same-sex relationships in 2009 but reinstated it in 2013 after an outcry from the religious sector. Now, Harish and his mother are continuing to fight for equal rights, making sure that sexual minorities and transgender individuals are no longer living on the fringes of society, being discriminated against and unable to receive health care. In addition, Reuters reports that since the criminalization of same-sex relationships has come back into effect, crime against India’s LGBT+ population is on the rise, even though many victims are too scared to report it.

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