December 22, 2016
Come January, Vishal Mehta will be getting married. Being gay, he had never imagined it would happen so soon. The task of finding a match suitable for him was taken up by arrangedgaymarriage.com, an arranged marriage bureau for gay men and women, run by International Gay Marriage Bureau Inc. Are you surprised that such a website exists?
“I am 34 and have been looking for a stable relationship for long. I chanced upon this website that makes our dream come true, even though it isn’t legal in India. I filled up an enquiry form on the website, signed an agreement and paid the requisite money. They sent me suitable profiles to talk to, and one of them worked out for me,” Vishal declares happily. “We lived in for two months before making it known to my parents. They resisted initially, but now they are arranging for our wedding,” he says.
Baiju Thomas, a spiritual healer from Kerala, also found his better half John, who teaches meditation, through this bureau. “They settled down in Goa after a wedding in the US,” says Urvi Shah, International Marketing Director of the bureau.
Marriage is not the final destination; live-ins are more popular. Anmesh Ahuja (33), a model from Surat, met Rahul Gonsalves (35), a makeup artist from Mumbai, through this bureau and are a live-in couple now.
So, how did the bureau come into existence?The idea came to Benhur Samson when he got requests to find life partners for gay clients whom he helped with surrogacy. Since marriages for the gay community don’t have legal blessings, he roped in the openly gay prince of Rajpipla, Manvendra Singh Gohil, as a consultant, along with lawyers to look into the legal aspects, including immigration if an Indian marries a person abroad.
“The bureau has arranged 17 live-in relationships, four marriages,and gets requests from 23 countries. We only entertain serious intentions, no one-night stands,” asserts Urvi.