Two lesbian couples marry in mass wedding hosted by Taiwanese military

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TAOYUAN, Taiwan – Two lesbian couples tied the knot in a mass wedding hosted by the Taiwanese military on Friday in a landmark celebration with their peers.

Taiwan is the only place in Asia to have legalized same-sex marriage, with over 4,000 of these couples marrying since legislation passed in May 2019. The mass marriage with 188 couples was the first time that same-sex couples had married and married. were celebrating at a military ceremony.

The two couples viewed their ceremonies with a sense of responsibility towards representing the LGBTQ community.

“We hope that more LGBT people in the military can stand up courageously, because our military is very open-minded. When it comes to love, everyone will be treated equally, ”said Chen Ying-hsuan, 27, an army lieutenant who married Li Li-chen, 26.

Chen Ying-Hsuan and his wife Li Chen-Chen, at a mass military wedding in Taoyuan, Taiwan, October 30, 2020.Ann Wang / Reuters

Chen wore a rainbow bracelet and said she was always open about her sexual orientation while serving.

The ceremony at a military base in the northern city of Taoyuan was brief. The couples took part in a parade and then exchanged rings in front of an audience of family members and their senior officers.

Yumi Meng, 37, and his wife, Army Major Wang Yi, 36, wiped away their tears as they exchanged rings. Meng wore sneakers under his wedding dress, while Wang wore his officer uniform. They each carried a pride flag throughout the ceremony.

Meng’s parents did not come to the celebration, but to support Wang’s parents and his teacher came to support the couple.

“I really think this is a huge step forward for the military because before, gay people really had to go through a lot,” said Amy Chao, Wang’s mother. “Maybe for heterosexual couples it’s just a paper, but it’s very important for same-sex couples, if you are sick or have to have major surgery, if you don’t have this you don’t. are nothing, you can only a decision. “

Since same-sex marriage became legal in Taiwan, 4,021 such couples have married, 69 percent of them lesbian couples, according to the latest government data.

The military seemed an unlikely institution to be the site of same-sex marriage, but in recent years it has opened up, said Victoria Hsu, co-founder of the Taiwan Alliance for the Advancement of Civil Partnership Rights. “We hope this is a good sign to show that the attitude of the armed forces towards the LGBT community is becoming more favorable than before in Taiwan.”

This attitude was on full display on Friday as she welcomed dozens of journalists to the wedding.

“Our attitude is that everyone should be treated the same, and we congratulate every couple, and it shows that our military’s position is open-minded, progressive and with the times,” Lt. Gen. Yang said. An to reporters at the wedding.

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