NDP MLA Spencer Herbert will marry his fiancé, Romi Chandra, in a “hybrid” civil ceremony that incorporates Hindu traditions this Saturday (March 27) in his Vancouver-West End riding.
“It will be our 10-year anniversary,” Herbert, 28, told the Straight from his Vancouver constituency office. “It will be close family and friends. Nothing too fancy or over the top and nothing too traditional—just a way of celebrating with our family and celebrating all our friends who have helped us reach this point, and also as a way of looking to the next few years.”
Chandra, a 30-year-old long-time community activist in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community, proposed to Herbert two years ago. But “elections got in the way”, according to Herbert.
Herbert won a byelection in the downtown riding in October 2008 and retained the seat in the May 2009 provincial election.
Asked how he feels about getting married after such a long courtship, Herbert said, “It feels great.
“It’s just another way of recommitting to each other and celebrating our love, because it’s still relatively new that two guys can get married as well,” he added. “It is a unique thing for our families and those around us too.”
Because Chandra’s parents and family are practising Hindus, Herbert said the wedding will incorporate the Saptapadi (Sanskrit for “seven steps”). The couple will complete seven circuits of the holy fire, which is a witness to their vows to one another.
Once the dust settles on the wedding, Herbert said he and Chandra will look into adopting.
“We’re not doing a Madonna or an Angelina Jolie,” Herbert quipped. “We’re looking to do it within B.C. if that is possible, and certainly some friends of ours have done that. I think there are enough kids out there within our own province who need a parent, who need that kind of love. So we’re thinking of that one in the next two to three years, and this is just a way for us to celebrate our 10th anniversary with everybody who helped us get here.”
It was at a Vancouver beach that the couple first met, by chance. Herbert insists it was “love at first sight”, but is quick to add the two did not exchange words for a couple of hours.
“We kind of went, ”˜Oh, we’re not going to talk to each other, because we’re tired of people trying to pick people up on the beach.’”
Herbert also noted in jest that the wedding “beats the HST”.
“I was looking at the bill the other day and I just went, ”˜Hey, good timing, Romi. We didn’t do it in July.’”