Lesbian Couple Marry In Taiwan’s First Same-Sex Buddhist Wedding

On Saturday, Taiwanese couple You Ya-ting and Fish Huang exchanged prayer beads and said “I do” at a Buddhist temple in the northern city of  Taoyuan, marking what is believed to be the first gay Buddhist wedding in the country.

The China Post reports nearly 300 people attended the ceremony, chanting sutras to seek blessings for the women.

“We are witnessing history. The two women are willing to stand out and fight for their fate… to overcome social discrimination,” said Shih Chao-hui, a Buddhist master and civil-rights advocate who officiated over the ceremony. “Some people might find it astounding (a woman performing the ceremony) but Buddhism does not engage in ideological struggles, and I am used to strange looks from my own experience in the social movement.”

While the event garnered media attention, same-sex marriage is still not legal in Taiwan—a 2003 bill endorsing marriage equality was tabled by President Ma Ying-jeou, who said more public consensus was needed before it could be passed.

Gay rights groups have been mobilizing to make Taiwan, one of Asian’s more progressive countries, the first in Asia to recognize gay marriage. (Last year, 80 lesbian couples married in a mass same-sex wedding.) A recent proposal by the Judicial Ministry in Vietnam, however, might see the Communist nation reach that landmark first.