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hennaA gay couple in Uttar Pradesh is running for cover as they face legal hurdles and social stigma over a ‘marriage’ ratified by mistake under the Hindu Marriages Act (HMA).

Simran and Chunmun Kumar, both in their 20s, say that they have been ‘madly in love’ for a decade and decided to marry in a Ballia city court last March.

Later it was discovered that both the bride and groom were men. The two men maintain they made this fact clear to the lawyers and registrar involved, but officials have said they had signed a legal document testifying that they were one man and one woman.

The couple met as they both performed in the same dance troupe. Simran Kumar is a male dancer who calls herself Simran Singh.

They ‘married’ in the city of Ballia where they had been living for seven years.

A local lawyer allegedly advised them that they could not legally marry under the Hindu Marriages Act.

He said that there is “no room for such homosexual unions.”

However, Mr and Mr Kumar contest this fact and allege that they are being “wronged” by officials who clearly understood that they were both men and charged them Rs 3,000 for court fees before giving them official certification of their marriage on the 30th March.

They realised their marriage was not legal after returning to the village of Bareilly, 25 kilometres away. They fled the village after hearing the news.

S.C. Mishra, sub-registrar of Ballia city, has said that the legal documents given by the duo described Simran as a woman and Chunmun as a man. He points out that Simran came dressed as a newly-wed, in a bright red sari.

He added the marriage had been solemnised “by mistake”.

The Asian Age newspaper reports that officials say the recommendation of the gram pradhan, the head of the village who gave his name to officialise the marriage) also looks incorrect as the name of the headman is different from that in the actual records.

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