During the ceremony at Taiwan’s army base in Taoyuan, the couples participated in a parade and then exchanged rings amid their families and senior officers.
In May 2019, Taiwan legalised same-sex marriage and since then over 4,000 such couples have tied the knot, among which nearly 70 per cent are lesbian couples.
But the mass wedding with 188 couples at the military base where two same-sex couples married was a first.
Wearing a rainbow wristband to show inclusivity, 27-year-old army lieutenant Chen Ying-hsuan, who married Li Li-chen, 26, said that they are “hoping that more LGBT people in the military can bravely stand up, because our military is very open-minded”.
“In matters of love, everyone will be treated equally,” said Chen while noting that she was always open about her sexual orientation while serving.
The other couple was Yumi Meng, 37, and 36-year-old army major Wang Yi. Though Meng's parents were not part of the celebrations both of Wang's parents attended as well as her teacher. During the ceremony, they also carried a pride flag.
Wang’s mother Amy Chao said it is a huge “breakthrough for the military because before gay people really had to go through a lot.”
The Taiwanese army’s Lt General Yang An said their attitude is that everyone should be treated equally, and the ceremony shows that the “military’s position is open-minded, progressive and with the times.”
According to the Pew Research Center, around 30 countries and territories across the world have passed laws that allow gays and lesbians to marry, but they are mostly in Europe and the Americas.
In 2018, India’s Supreme Court decriminalised sexual relations between same-sex couples. But their marriage is still not recognised and the issue is now being discussed by Indian courts.
Costa Rica’s highest court in 2018 ruled that a law banning same-sex marriage was unconstitutional, and in May 2020 it became the first Central American nation to allow same-sex marriage.
Additional reporting by agencies