Taiwanese same-sex couples wed at vibrant banquet

International

Taiwanese same-sex couples kiss at their wedding party in Taipei, Taiwan, Saturday, May 25, 2019. Taiwan became the first place in Asia to allow same-sex marriage last week. Hundreds of same-sex couples in Taiwan rushed to get married Friday, the first day a landmark decision that legalized same-sex marriage took effect. (AP Photo/Chiang Ying-ying)

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — More than 1,000 people attended a mass wedding banquet in Taiwan’s capital to celebrate the marriage of same-sex couples after a landmark decision legalizing the unions.

Taiwan became the first place in Asia to recognize same-sex marriage last week following a vote by the island’s legislature.

LGBT couples clad in flowing white gowns and matching suits gathered in Taipei on Saturday evening to walk down a red carpet flanked by cheering supporters. Taiwan’s state Central News Agency reported that more than 1,600 guests were in attendance, including 20 same-sex couples who recently tied the knot.

“Never did we give up hope that we would one day get married,” said Janet Hsu, a 38-year-old civil servant who married her partner.

They and other pairs were honored in a gala that featured an emcee who wished them “100 years of happiness.” A drag queen also performed with a group of scantily clad men.

The banquet seated 160 tables and served nine courses of traditional Taiwanese food, according to the Central News Agency.

Taiwan split with mainland China amid a civil war in 1949. China’s ruling Communist Party considers the island part of its territory.

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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