AHMEDABAD, INDIA (AFP) - An Indian entrepreneur has set up what is claimed to be the country's first gay marriage bureau, seeking to arrange matches for homosexual couples.
Benhur Samson, who previously helped foreign gay couples use surrogacy services, said he founded the agency in response to interest from clients.
"I was surprised to see the response from the gay people whom I came in touch with while counselling them on surrogacy issue," he told AFP.
"This is how I came upon the idea of a marriage bureau for gay men and women who want to settle down with a partner."
Samson, who lives in the United States, has enlisted the help of Manvendrasingh Gohil, an openly gay Indian prince, to help sort out immigration issues.
"Several gay people of Indian origin wanted an arranged marriage and were looking for partners from India," he said.
"We already got over 200 enquiries and nearly two dozen people have enrolled with us.
"We are now in the process of identifying the right match for them." Enrolment costs US$5,000 (S$6,800), an unthinkably high sum for most Indians, although the fee is refundable if no match is found.
The agency conducts background checks, visits prospective partners at home and at work and provides counselling, Samson said.
"I have not heard about such gay marriage bureau anywhere else (in India)," said Gohil, who is also a gay rights activist.
Gay marriage and gay sex are both illegal in the conservative country and homosexuality has long been a taboo subject.