For Mandy Randhawa, planning her wedding has been bittersweet.
A first-generation Canadian, the Burnaby resident has resigned herself to the fact that her traditional Indian parents will not be in attendance at her same-sex union to partner Leigh Cousins next fall.
“I grew up with very liberal ideas that I got from them, but when it comes to traditions of marriage and things like that, it just seems like there’s no other possibility, no tolerance,” she said. “I’m really sad about it. No one from my side of the family will be there.”
Cousins, who proposed to Randhawa in October after 11 years of dating, says the marriage is not only a personal affair but a social and political statement to show their hopes and dreams are no different from any other couple’s.
“There’s something very important and sacred about being public about it,” said Randhawa. “There’s this side of my family that’s not happy, and they’ve always wanted me to be somebody else, so for me it’s a celebration of my love and my choices and my life as an individual.”
Aiden Callison and Jason Bower make up another same-sex couple, planning to marry next month. They, too, have received objections to their union.
“Somehow, we still have built into our society the fact that people are allowed to be rude, ignorant and disrespectful as long as they do so saying it’s their religious beliefs,” said Bower.
Both couples acknowledge the obstacles of the past and present while looking optimistically toward changes. Both also hope to one day adopt.