An Indian entrepreneur has started a business setting up arranged same-sex marriages for gay Indians.
Gay Indian businessman Benhur Samson, who now lives in Chicago, launched the bold venture, setting up arranged marriages for gay couples.
He told the Times of India: “Several people wanting an arranged marriage were looking for partners from India. The reason seems to that arranged marriages are common in India.
“Also, Indians are known for their commitment, their loyalty to partners and hard-working nature.”
The scheme costs $5,000 – a gargantuan sum for most Indians – but Mr Samson claims it is refunded if no suitable match is found.
He insists the business is doing well – but there are currently less than 30 people on the company’s books, and it’s unclear how many matches have been found.
He said: “We have received around 250 inquiries and around 24 people are enrolled with us. We are in the process of identifying the right match for them.
“We take a couple of months to know the person and only then begin the process.”
Equal marriage is not legal in India, and gay sex was re-criminalised by the country’s Supreme Court in 2013 – under India’s Colonial-era Penal code.
In the past few months, India’s Parliament has twice voted down legislation which would decriminalise homosexuality – with an overwhelming majority of lawmakers voting to keep the archaic gay sex ban in place.
Though the law has not been explicitly deployed by police since coming back into force, there are fears it is being used to persecute the country’s LGBT community, through blackmail and extortion.
There is a social movement for change, however. A music video released by the United Nations in 2014 featured a same-sex wedding – with Bollywood star and former Miss India Celina Jaitly backing the campaign.
The clip racked up more than 2 million views online, and was well-received by many.