Lifestyle & Belief

India's first married lesbians get 24-hour protection

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Gay rights supporters listen to fellow speakers during a gathering in New Delhi on July 2, 2011. The LGBTQ (lesbian, Gay, Bisexual,Transgender, Queer, Intersex) rights supporters assembled near Jantar Mantar in the capital to celebrate the anniversary of a historic Delhi High Court judgment which decriminalised consentual sex between two adults of the same gender.

Credit:

PRAKASH SINGH

A lesbian couple that was granted an informal marriage by a civil court in Haryana earlier this month has been put under 24-hour police guard to protect them from being targeted for a so-called "honor killing" by outraged family members, the Telegraph reports.

The couple approached the district court in Gurgaon, a satellite of New Delhi, and complained that Savita, a 25-year-old student, had been forced to marry against her will earlier this year. She had left her husband five months after the forced marriage after telling him she was in a lesbian relationship with 20-year-old Veena.
The court effectively granted her a divorce and gave its approval for her to marry Veena. In the court ceremony on July 22, Savita was designated 'husband' and Veena 'wife' in India's first lesbian marriage, the Telegraph said.

The couple later returned to court after receiving threats from friends and relatives in their village.  Their lawyer said the court had served notice on 14 of Veena's relatives and villagers who had threatened them with "dire consequences".

Honor killings are common in the state of Haryana, where families resent their children marrying outside of their caste or within the same gotra (or sub-caste) -- a practice that is considered to be akin to incest. India's courts have recently made various moves to protect so-called "love marriages" from these violent reprisals.