Taiwan Held its First Lesbian Marriage in 2012

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Original Chinese Language Article: By Yi Re Qiu (一日囚)

(Translated by Adrian Chan-Wyles PhD)

Taiwan’s Taoyuan County was the venue for the island’s first marriage of two gay women, which occurred on the 11th of August, 2012, during a traditional Buddhist ceremony. The couple (who were deeply in love) are named ‘Mei Yu’ and ‘Ya Ting’, both of whom were 30 years old at the time of their marriage. Around 200 people attended the Buddhist marriage ceremony, and this number comprised family and friends – as well as Gay Activists. The Buddhist wedding ceremony included monastics reading from the sutras, chanting and granting blessings before the couple exchanged tokens of their love for one another. This gay marriage ceremony went ahead with no interference from the authorities despite the fact that same sex marriages were not, at the time, legal on the island. This did not deter Mei Yu or Ya Ting – who fell in love seven years ago – but did not want to continue to hid their relationship from society. With this marriage, the couple felt that ‘their relationship would be more complete’.

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This was the first time that a gay couple had been married in Taiwan, and the fact that their marriage was conducted through a traditional ‘Buddhist’ ceremony marks a clarification of the Buddhist stance on same sex marriage. The presiding Buddhist nun – Dharma Master Zhao Hui – said:

“Buddhism does not prohibit lay-people of the same sex having a relationship, and so there is no reason why gay people cannot get married.”

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In the broader community, the idea of a ‘Buddhist Gay Wedding’ did attract some criticism from conservative quarters, and this is exactly why the couple decided to go ahead with their plans. They wanted to draw attention to the existence and plight of gay people living within Chinese culture. In a joint statement, the couple said:

“For us this is a very significant step – not only for our private lives – but also symbolically for the gay community. We want to bring hope to all gay people by emphasising that Buddhism is not opposed to ‘Gayness’ or the principle of ‘Gay Marriage’.”

©opyright: Adrian Chan-Wyles (ShiDaDao) 2015.

Original Chinese Language Article

http://group.mtime.com/filmsound/discussion/2393126/

8月11日,台湾桃园县,同为佛教徒的台湾女同性恋情侣美瑜和雅婷,依照传统佛教仪式举行婚礼。二人现在都是30岁,约200名亲戚朋友及同性恋权利活动者参加了她们的婚礼婚礼沿循佛教传统仪式,包括讲道、唱经以及僧侣祝福,二人仪式上交换信物。在台湾,同性婚姻尚未合法化。30岁的美瑜和伴侣雅婷相恋7年,她们不想再当社会的隐形人,决定通过结婚“让彼此关系更完整”。

这是台湾佛教界主持的首对同性恋婚礼,标志佛教对同性恋话题的态度转变。主持婚礼的昭慧法师,同时也是台湾玄奘大学的教授,她表示,“佛教并不禁止同性恋,人与人之间维持关系已难矣……不管性倾向是什么,我们为何还要如此吝啬去嫉妒两个想结婚的人。”

在祝福这对新人的同时,“佛化同性婚礼”引起了社会人士的关注,有人反对,也有人赞叹。而当事人表示,她们希望婚礼能让民众更多关注同性婚姻问题及同性情侣所面临的种种困难。“对我们来说意义重大,因为我们的婚礼能给其他同性恋人带去希望,且让异性恋者了解佛教对同性恋的看法。”

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