A lesbian couple have decided to tie the knot in a traditional
Buddhist ceremony next month, the first of its kind in Taiwan.
30-year-old Fish Huang and her partner, who have been together for
seven years, will wed on August 11 in Taoyuan County.
Same-sex marriage is not legalised in the state. Speaking to CNA
(Taiwan's Central News Agency), Huang, a social worker, said: "We
are not only doing it for ourselves, but also for other gays and
They hope that the wedding will help draw attention to the issue
of gay marriage and the difficulties faced by gay couples in the
country. Huang went on to say: "It is meaningful to us that our
wedding can give hope to other homosexuals and help heterosexuals
understand how Buddhism views sexuality".
Huang said that they considered marriage after watching a film
that showed the pain suffered by a lesbian woman following the
death of her partner, which was made worse due to the lack of
After messaging her local Buddhist master via Faceboook, Huang was
told that there was nothing in Buddhist teachings that prohibited
homosexuality. The local master, Shih Chao-Hwei, has agreed to
conduct the traditional ceremony for the two women. There will be
lectures about the meaning of marriage, as well as chanting and
blessings from monks and nuns.
Shih, who is also a professor at Hsuan Chuang University, told
CNA: "It's difficult enough to maintain a relationship ... how
could you be so stingy as to begrudge a couple for wanting to get
married, regardless of their sexual orientation".
The professor also suggested that in comparison with Western
religions, Buddhism was more tolerant to homosexuality.
However, not all the reaction to the planned wedding has been
positive. Some of Huang's Buddhist friends have expressed concerns
and were unsure about attending the ceremony. She explained: "They
are not sure if it would break their vows and were very
Taiwan's first gay public wedding took place in 1996 between
writer Hsu Yu-Sheng and his partner Gary Harriman. The landmark
event attracted media attention around the world.
The news of the first gay Buddhist wedding comes after a comment
piece in the Taipei Times at the beginning of this month argued
that legalising same-sex unions would benefit all.