Same-sex couples participate in mass wedding ceremony for the first time

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Ten same-sex couples were married in a mass wedding in Taipei.

The mass wedding ceremony took place on Saturday (October 24) in a government-hosted event in Taipei in twice-yearly event that stated in 1973.

However, this year marked the first time same-sex couples had participated in the event – even though same-sex marriage has not yet been legalised in Taiwan.

Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je presided over the event which saw 123 couples tie the knot at the University of Taipei’s sports stadium.

LGBT rights activist Nelson Chen – who took part in the mass wedding with his partner Kao Chih-wei – praised the move.

“The wedding today not only marks the 10th anniversary of our happiness and companionship, it is also our way to show practical support for the Taipei city government, for its decision to include gay couples in its mass wedding,” he said.

“Even though same-sex marriage is not yet legalised in Taiwan, if more gay couples can bravely come forward, it will set a great example for the public,” he told Central News Agency.

The event in Taipei was held a day after the city of Taoyuan became the first city in Taiwan to allow same-sex couples to participate in a mass wedding.

However, the marriages between same-sex couples remain entirely symbolic and are not legally binding.

Despite this, gay activists see the move as precursor to the government eventually recognising marriage equality.

Jennifer Lu – an LGBT advocate – and her partner Chen Ling were also married at the event.

“Finally, after such a long time, small progress is being made in the gay rights movement,” she said.

“Next, we are looking forward to acceleration in the legislative process.”

In July, Taiwan announced plans to legalise same-sex marriage.

The government’s plans to draft a “same-sex partnership” law would make Taiwan the first region in Asia to legalise gay marriage.

Last year, an online poll revealed that 68% of the population supported same-sex marriage.

Taiwan’s LGBT community have been campaigning for same-sex unions for years – with thousands of supporters flooded the streets of Taipei in a bid to urge the government to change the country’s stance on gay marriage earlier this year.