Ten same-sex Chinese couples to marry in California after online competition

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Same-sex weddings remain banned in China – but ten Chinese gay couples are set to marry tomorrow in West Hollywood.

Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba hosted a landmark contest earlier this year alongside a number of LGBT groups, offering a round-trip to get married, to raise awareness of the lack of recognition for same-sex relationships in China.

More than 400 couples entered to win a trip to marry in the US, with ten lucky couples winning the chance to tie the knot in the US.

The couples are set to  wed tomorrow as part of Pride month, in the West Hollywood Library, California. West Hollywood Mayor Lindsey P Horvath will officiate the ceremony for the couples.

Mayor Horvath said: “West Hollywood has long been at the center of the marriage equality movement.

“In addition to fighting for full equality under the law, our City officials performed special wedding ceremonies at West Hollywood Park in 2008, and at West Hollywood City Hall as soon as Proposition 8 was struck down by the US Supreme Court in 2013.

“We hope that this wedding will send a strong message, especially to LGBT people across the globe, that the City of West Hollywood celebrates your right to marry and welcomes your destination wedding as a symbol of our commitment to equality for all.”

It is the result of a collaboration between a number of groups, including the City of West Hollywood, Visit West Hollywood, Chinese gay hook-up app Blued, online shop Taobao, the Beijing LGBT Center, PFLAG China, and China Luxury Advisors.

Bradley Burlingame of Visit West Hollywood said: “With more than 40 percent of the residential population identifying as LGBT, the City of West Hollywood has long been one of the most popular gay travel destinations.

“From a simple civil ceremony to a lavish rooftop affair, West Hollywood offers not just unique wedding venues but an overarching spirit of inclusion and a longstanding support for the LGBT community that is woven into the city’s foundation.”

Hook-up app Blued has filmed the couples’ trip, with a documentary set to be released online in China about the weddings.

Despite growing pressure, there is little in the way of rights for LGBT people in China. Homosexuality was decriminalised in 1997 – but China has no anti-discrimination laws or legal recognition of same-sex couples.