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Two British women have made history by marrying in what is believed to be the nation’s first interfaith gay ceremony.
Kalavati Mistry and Miriam Jefferson are both from strictly religious families. Kalavati is Hindu while Miriam is Jewish.
After falling in love on a training course 20 years ago, the pair finally found a Hindu priest who was willing to marry them.
On Saturday, the pair tied the knot in a venue in Leicester in front of all their friends and family.
The brides wore traditional Hindu garments in the wedding colours of red and white.
48-year-old Kalavati explained how she had kept her sexuality secret for the majority of her life; only coming out to her Hindu parents a few years ago.
Luckily, her family accepted her relationship with Miriam, causing one less stress for the newlywed.
However, the couple struggled to find a Hindu priest who was willing to marry a lesbian couple of two different religions.
Now, the pair are set to move to Texas – Miriam’s hometown – to finally live the life they dreamed.
While some couples may not be bothered about marriage, Kalaviti believes that the tradition should stay. “Marriage is very important to me. I grew up in a very traditional household, and really value the traditions and the culture,” she said.
“To me, I wanted to spend my life with someone in a union. Some of the rituals that you do in a wedding are very important. I wanted me and Miriam to join in that union.”
She also spoke of the struggles growing up as an Asian gay woman, adding: “It was initially very difficult for me, trying to tell your friends and family and honour the traditions.”
“Once I told my friends and family a few years ago, they were very warm, welcoming and embracing to Miriam, which is very important.”
“Although attitudes are changing at the moment, it was very difficult to find a priest. Many priests were warm and welcoming and said they’d like to the wedding, but they said that their federation wouldn’t allow it. I’m very grateful that we’ve been able to do this. I’d like to see our lives bond together – our traditions and our cultures.”
Miriam echoed her wife’s sentiments, commenting that she feels “like times are changing for the better.”
“Some people have beliefs or fears that make it hard to embrace gay marriage. I feel like that’s going to change. As people get more comfortable, as people find out that people they already know and love are gay, they want what’s best for them.”
“Mostly, I think we’re going in the right direction. It’s hard to be against love.”
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