A university chapel has hosted Taiwan’s first Christian religious marriage services this week - though the marriages will not be legally recognized by the state
Three Taiwanese couples married in a Christian chapel on the grounds of Tunghai University in the city of Taichung on Tuesday in what are believed to be the first Christian same-sex weddings in Taiwan.
The couples and their friends and supporters packed the university’s Luce Memorial Chapel before posing for wedding photos.
The ceremonies were presided over by the Rev Elias Tseng – the first openly gay Christian pastor in Taiwan.
‘I have a small mind – there is only enough room for you,’ said one of the brides as part of her vows as Chen Chia-chun, the wife of former opposition Democratic Progressive Party Chairman Shih Ming-the, looked on amongst supporters.
The decision to hold the wedding at the university’s chapel was not opposed by campus management who said students had a right to voice their opinion on public issues on campus.
The event was organized by the Taiwan GDi Association, the Taiwan LGBT Pride and various student groups.
Milly Hou, one of the organizers of the ceremony, told Focus Taiwan that she hoped her gay and lesbian friends would soon be able to legally marry.
‘I think people should be given equal rights in front of the law, and if heterosexual couples are allowed to have happiness, gay people should also be allowed the same right,’ Hou said.
This week’s same-sex weddings are not the first religious same-sex weddings in Taiwan as a lesbian couple married in a Buddhist ceremony in August of last year.
A draft of a bill to allow same-sex couples to marry and adopt passed its first reading in Taiwan’s Legislative Yuan in October – prompting thousands of opponents to take to the streets to protest it.
However nearly 20,000 people attended a free concert by pop star A-mei on Sunday in support of same-sex marriage.