Two lesbian couples have tied the knot in a mass military wedding in Taiwan for the first time since the country legalised same-sex marriage in 2019.
Major Wang Yi and Yumi Meng wed on Friday (30 October) as part of the mass wedding, both wearing rainbow wristbands, alongside Lieutenant Chen Ying-hsuan and Li Li-chen.
The two same-sex couples were among 188 couples who tied the knot in the enormous marriage ceremony, which sees couples involved in the country’s army, navy and air force exchanging vows.
“I am hoping to boost the visibility of homosexuals so that people understand we are also just part of everyday life,” Wang said, according to CNN.
Military in Taiwan is ‘very open-minded’ and accepting of LGBT+ people, lesbian lieutenant says.
Meanwhile, Chen told AP that she has “always been open” about her sexuality while serving in Taiwan’s military, and she said the army is “very open-minded”.
“We are hoping that more LGBT+ people in the military can bravely stand up, as our military is very open-minded,” she said.
“In matters of love, everyone will be treated equally.”
Wang’s mother Amy Chao praised Taiwan’s military for allowing same-sex couples to marry as part of its mass-wedding, according to Taiwan News.
“I really feel that this is a huge breakthrough for the military because before gay people really had to go through a lot.
“Perhaps for heterosexual couples, it’s just a paper, but it’s very important for gay couples, if you’re sick or have to have a major surgery, if you don’t have this, then you are nothing, you can’t make a decision.”
Speaking to media at the wedding, lieutenant general Yang An said that the military’s attitude is that everyone, including LGBT+ people, should be treated equally.
I really feel that this is a huge breakthrough for the military because before gay people really had to go through a lot.
“We congratulate each and every couple, and this shows that our military’s position is open-minded, progressive and with the times,” Yang An said.
There was widespread jubilation in Taiwan, and across the world, when the country legalised same-sex marriage in May 2019 after legislators voted in favour of a government-backed bill that defined a union a same-sex couple as a marriage.
That vote came two years after Taiwan’s top court ruled that defining marriage as being between only a man and a woman was unconstitutional.