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Lesbian newlyweds call for fight against discrimination

2012/08/11 13:37:02

Taipei, Aug. 11 (CNA) A lesbian couple who tied the knot at the nation's first ever Buddhist same-sex wedding Saturday said that more efforts are needed to combat discrimination against homosexuality.

"We still have a long way to go before we achieve equal rights," Fish Huang said at the wedding banquet.

The wedding between Fish, 30, and her partner of seven years at a Buddhist altar in Taoyuan County of northern Taiwan drew media attention due to its unique nature and also because it was reportedly the first such wedding to be held in Asia.

The wedding was administered by a local Buddhist master and was attended by monks, nuns, as well as members of the gay community.

"I don't want to create an illusion of happiness," she said, admitting that her family refused to show up at the wedding. Huang noted that her decision to come out of the closet has somehow forced her family to "stay inside the closet."

Despite the challenges ahead, the Huang vowed to push for same-sex advocacy after marriage. "We are not only doing this for ourselves, but for our families and others who are suffering because of their sexual orientation."

Shih Chao-hwei, the Buddhist master who married the couple, said in an earlier interview with CNA that there is no concrete rule banning the practice of homosexuality in Buddhist texts.

"It's difficult enough to maintain a relationship. Why would you be so stingy as to begrudge a couple for wanting to get married, regardless of their sexual orientation?" she said.

Alternative sexual orientation and marriages have yet to be widely accepted by the general public in Taiwan, despite years of effort by activists to secure equality.

The first public gay marriage in Taiwan took place in 1996 between a local writer and his foreign partner.

(By Nancy Liu)