Two same-sex couples will be the first to participate in a group wedding hosted by Taiwan’s military in another milestone for gay rights in Asia.
The Armed Forces Wedding Ceremony on Friday will be the first time that same-sex couples will participate since the island’s parliament decided to legalize same-sex marriage last May.
Two female soldiers of the army and their same-sex civilian partners will be the first to participate in a group wedding hosted by the Taiwanese military on October 30, 2020.
In a Facebook posting, the Headquarters of the Taiwanese Army Command provided wedding photos of those who will attend the event. Among them were the two uniformed female soldiers and their same-sex partners, who were photographed in traditional dress called Qipao – also known as Cheongsam.
The three branches of the Taiwanese armed forces have been organizing annual weddings since 2014 as part of the government’s initiative to promote fertility in the country. Couples can register as long as one partner is on active duty.
Three same-sex couples – two in the Navy and one in the Air Force – were supposed to attend last year’s military group wedding, but withdrew in the weeks leading up to the event due to “public pressure,” reports said at the time.
The ceremony on Friday, which will take place at Army Command Headquarters in Taiwan’s northeastern city of Taoyuan, will begin at 8:30 a.m. local time. It will reflect similar ceremonies that will be hosted later that day by Taiwan’s navy and air force.
Taiwan was the first country in Asia to legalize same-sex marriage following a vote in the country’s legislature in May 2019.
Taipei, the capital of the island state, now regularly hosts Asia’s largest Gay Pride parade, which attracted more than 200,000 participants last year.
President Tsai Ing-wen signed the bill with the support of the Constitutional Court, although referendums in November 2018 showed that the public is against same-sex marriages in the Taiwanese civil code and LGBT issues in sex education material.
However, there are still obstacles for same-sex couples in the country. Taiwanese citizens may only marry foreign same-sex couples from countries where same-sex marriage is legal.
The government continues to recognize civil partnerships for those who do not meet the criteria, including two foreign citizens who want to register their relationship in Taiwan.
Other restrictions on married same-sex couples include the adoption policy, which in its current form allows only married partners to adopt a biological child of one of the spouses.