Mass Lesbian Wedding Planned in Taipei

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Wednesday August 10, 2011

About 1,000 people are expected to attend a mass wedding for 60 lesbian couples planned for later this month in the Taiwanese city Taipei, an Aug. 9 story reported.

The mass wedding will not have any legal weight, but organizers and participants hope to encourage the Taiwanese government to take action on a long-simmering bill, first introduced in 2003, that would grant marriage equality to gay and lesbian families, an Aug. 9 On Top Magazine article said.

"We are celebrating the recent legalization of gay marriage in New York, and we hope that Taiwan will make the same move in the near future," even organizer AJ Wang told the AFP. "We also want the public to see that so many gay couples are committed to each other and they deserve to be recognized and treated fairly."

On Top Magazine said that Taiwan's Gay Pride event brought in 30,000 people.

No action against the wedding or its organizers is expected from the government.

A similar mass wedding in the Philippines earlier this summer prompted officials there to contemplate reprisals against participants and organizers alike.

Gay-affirming Metropolitan Community Church carried out a mass wedding for gay and lesbian families in Baguio, the Philippines, on June 25. The city government considered prosecuting those who participated, reported the Baguio Sun-Star on July 2.

The event was part of the city's Pride Month celebrations. The mass wedding drew sharp criticism from leaders of other religious traditions, the newspaper reported.

Before the wedding took place, a Catholic cleric, Bishop Carlito Cenzon, condemned the plan, saying, "Same-sex wedding is wrong and cannot be called a holy union," the Sun-Star reported in a June 23 article. "We pity them, they love each other, but they cannot be wed," the bishop added.

But the wedding ceremony went forward at the Metropolitan Community Church, to the displeasure of local government officials. Eight couples were wed. Among the celebrants were a few Americans, a June 29 Philippines Today article said.

The three pastors who officiated faced threats of having their licenses to officiate at weddings yanked, CBCP reported on June 29.

"Councilor Richard Cariño said the City Council could declare a person unwelcome if he or she is found violating laws and his actions are contrary to the principles and ordinances of the city, and if his actions are oppressive to the community," the Sun-Star reported on July 2.

Cariño indicated that the couples and Metropolitan Community Church clergy alike could face censure.

Another city council member, Edison Bilog, suggested that the city government might pass a resolution against the participants in order to level charges at them, and claimed that the wedding was in violation of Philippines law, specifically, Revised Penal Code section 352.

But attorney Cheryl Daytec said that the wedding was not a violation of any law, since it was not legally binding and not portrayed as such.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.