A Hindu woman, Kalavati Mistry, and a Jewish woman, Miriam Jefferson have said ‘I do’, over 20 years after they fell in love while on a training course.
Their happy union after so many years was special for many personal reasons, but it was also unlike any other wedding day in British history. This was to be the very first interfaith Lesbian wedding ever to be recorded in the UK.
The besotted couple tied the knot in a beautiful and traditional Hindu ceremony at the Chutney Ivy restaurant in Leicester. Both ladies wore embroidered red and white bridal clothes, and were decorated with flower garlands and ‘mangala sutra’ necklaces.
Miriam, who is from America, recalled her emotions during the uniquely romantic day:
The wedding was wonderful.
I got to spend the whole day with someone that I adore and love and want to spend my entire life with.
I was surrounded by people I’ve known my entire life, and people who have recently embraced me as their own.
It’s a pretty wonderful thing to celebrate.
The committed couple have already had a Jewish wedding ceremony in San Antonio, Texas, but wanted a Hindu ceremony too so as to ‘complete’ them.
Miriam was keen to show her bride Kalvati, whose religious and cultural traditions are very important to her, that her beliefs were important to her too.
However, like every great love story, it hasn’t all been plain sailing. Kalvati is from a strictly religious family, and only revealed her sexuality to them a few years ago.
Kalvati has admitted her family’s religion made coming out much more difficult and nerve-racking:
My family have embraced Miriam very well. It was initially very difficult for me as an Asian gay woman.
I knew from a very young age that I was gay. I knew during my teenage years that I was and it was very difficult, trying to tell your friends and family and honour the traditions. So it’s very difficult.
Even after receiving Kalvati’s parents’ acceptance and blessing, she admits the women struggled to find a Hindu priest willing to conduct the ceremony:
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 will follow the Hindu faith and follow some of the Jewish traditions.
I’d like to see our lives bond together – our traditions and our cultures. We get to embrace both, Hinduism as well as Judaism.
That’s how I see it. I hope this brings people together. I hope many many gay people – no matter what religion or culture they’re in – are in loving relationships.
The wives, who fittingly both work for an interfaith organisation, have now jetted off into the sunset together. They have flown over to Miriam’s hometown of Texas where they intend to live in love for the rest of their days.