By Julie Bolcer
Originally published on Advocate.com August 12 2012 9:02 AM ET
Two women became the first same-sex couple to marry in a Buddhist ceremony in Taiwan on Saturday, an act the brides hope will prompt the country to recognize marriage equality.
Agence France-Presse reports on the wedding of Fish Huang and You Ya-ting, both 30, at a monastery in Taoyuan in northern Taiwan. Shih Chao-hui, a female Buddhist minister and social activist, presided over the ceremony.
"We are witnessing history. The two women are willing to stand out and fight for their fate... to overcome social discrimination," she said, according to AFP, with nearly 300 Buddhist attendees chanting sutras to bless the couple. The brides’ parents did not attend because of concerns about the media attention.
The historic wedding, which is not legally binding, took place as advocates in Taiwan continue to press the government to recognize same-sex unions. Gay rights groups want President Ma Ying-jeou, who has previously called for public consensus on the issue, to push for legislation before his term ends in 2016. The couple married Saturday wrote an open letter to President Ma asking him to recognize marriage as soon as possible, according to the Taipei Times.