Modern couples are now spending more than $28,000, on average, to fund their dream weddings. But for seven gay and lesbian Chinese couples who wed in West Hollywood on June 9, simply getting married at all was a dream come true.
Although China decriminalized homosexuality in 1997, it doesn’t permit same-sex marriages. And many LGBT couples face discrimination.
One of the women who married in the group wedding, Xue Mengyao, hasn’t even told her family that she and her now-wife, Xu Na, are lesbians — though she hopes that when she takes home the photos from their wedding, her family will be able to see the joy radiating from their faces and be accepting.
Xue and Xu, as well as the other six couples, were winners in a contest sponsored by e-commerce giant Alibaba and Blued, China’s largest gay dating app. The winners, who were challenged to submit videos sharing their love stories, were offered an all-expenses-paid trip and American dream wedding.
West Hollywood Mayor Lindsey Horvath officiated at the event, held at West Hollywood Library. Just two years ago, the same venue hosted numerous weddings for local gay couples when they won the right to wed in California.
“We hope this wedding will send a strong message, especially to LGBT people across the globe, that the City of West Hollywood celebrates your right to marry and welcomes your destination wedding as a symbol of our commitment to equality for all,” Horvath commented in a press release.
And while their marriages won’t be recognized in their home country, the brides and grooms didn’t seem to let that dim their appreciation of the moment.
One of the men was even too excited to wait for Horvath to finish speaking before grabbing and kissing his partner during the ceremony.
“Clearly,” Horvath said, “you have sealed these vows with a kiss.”