Mum places first gay marriage ad in India

RADICAL: A matrimonial advertisement placed in a local newspaper in Mumbai, India, with a mother’s request for a groom for her son.

A newspaper has published a mother's request for a groom for her son after three leading dailies refused.

It is the first gay matrimonial advertisement published in India, where homosexuality is illegal, the family said yesterday.

Ms Padma Iyer placed the ad for her rights activist son Harish in the matrimonial pages of Mid-Day, the largest selling tabloid in India's financial and entertainment capital Mumbai.

"Seeking 25-40, Well-placed, Animal-Loving, Vegetarian GROOM for my SON (36, 5'11") who works with an NGO, Caste No Bar (Though IYER Preferred)," read the ad published on Tuesday. The Iyer caste is an upper-class Brahmin community and caste preference is often specified in India's entrenched social class system.

Thousands of similar ads are carried in India's hugely popular newspaper matrimonial pages in a tradition in which potential spouses are sought and vetted by families, AFP reported. Mr Harish Iyer said that like most Indian mothers, his was "pretty concerned" about finding him a partner and planning a wedding.

"She thinks I need to settle down as I am growing old," the 36-year-old said, adding he has so far received six responses to the ad.

"Parents are equally concerned about the future of their children, whether they are gay or not."

But he said the Times of India and DNA declined to publish the ad for legal reasons, while the Hindustan Times did not give a reason, after his mother approached all three dailies last week.

"Editorially, they show support for LGBT rights, but when it comes to actually walking the talk, they hide behind the law," Mr Iyer told AFP.

The Hindustan Times declined to comment on the ad, while a DNA spokesman could not be contacted.

A Times of India senior employee in the classifieds section denied refusing the ad, saying the paper's legal team advised changing the word groom to "companion" to comply with the law.

This article was first published on May 21, 2015.
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