May 27, 2013 5:04:22 pm
Two former students from Pakistan have defied death threats to solemnise their lesbian marriage in UK’s first Muslim gay civil partnership. Rehana Kausar,34,and Sobia Kamar,29,took their vows at a registry office in Leeds and instantly applied for political asylum in the UK,according to local media reports.
“This country allows us rights and it’s a very personal decision that we have taken. It’s no one’s business as to what we do with our personal lives,” Kausar,originally from Lahore,told the Birmingham-based ‘Sunday Mercury’ newspaper.
“The problem with Pakistan is that everyone believes he is in charge of other people lives and can best decide about the morals of others but that’s not the right approach. We are in this state because of our clergy,who have hijacked our society,which was once tolerant and respected individuals’ freedoms,” she added.
Kamar,originally from Mirpur in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir,described her partner as her “soul mate”.
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Relatives of the couple said the women had received death threats both in the UK and from their native Pakistan,where homosexuality is still deemed illegal under Pakistani law.
During the ceremony earlier this month,the couple dressed in white bridal wear reportedly told the registrar that they had met three years ago while studying business and health care management at Birmingham,having travelled to the country on student visas,and had been living together in South Yorkshire for about a year.
The civil ceremony took place in the presence of their solicitors and two Pakistani friends.
“The couple did not have an Islamic marriage ceremony,known as a nikah,as they could not find an imam to conduct what would have been a controversial ceremony. They have been very brave throughout as our religion does not condone homosexuality. The couple have had their lives threatened both here and in Pakistan and there is no way they could ever return there,” a relative of one of the women told the newspaper.
The Civil Partnership Act 2004 in the UK gives same-sex couples rights and responsibilities identical to civil marriage.
The government is currently in process of extending that to full-fledged marriage rights for gay couples under the Same Sex Marriage Bill,which has cleared the House of Commons but is expected to face opposition in the House of Lords.
Kausar and Kamar’s political asylum request is in process with the UK Home Office now.
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