Taiwan couple in same-sex Buddhist wedding

Two women tied the knot on Saturday in Taiwan’s first same-sex Buddhist wedding, a move rights groups hope will help make the island become the first place in Asia to legalize gay marriage.

Fish Huang and her partner You Ya-ting, both wearing traditional white bridal gowns, said “I do” in front of a Buddha statue and exchanged prayer beads rather than rings in a monastery in Taoyuan, in northern Taiwan.  Nearly 300 Buddhists chanted sutras to seek blessings for the couple, both aged 30.

Shih Chao-hui, a female Buddhist master who presided over the ritual, hailed it as a historic moment.  “We are witnessing history. The two women are willing to stand out and fight for their fate… to overcome social discrimination,” said Shih, a well-known advocate for social justice.

Taiwan is one of the most culturally liberal societies in East Asia, and gay and lesbian groups have been urging the government for years to make same-sex unions legal.

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