Valentine's Day celebrations took an unusual twist in Taipei yesterday, with a "Virtual Lesbian Wedding" at 228 Memorial Park -- featuring independent vice-presidential candidate Chu Hui-liang (朱惠良) and Sisy Chen (陳文茜), director of the Rising People Foundation (新興民族基金會) as the two "brides."
Independent presidential hopeful Hsu Hsin-liang (
The ceremony was part of a "gay Valentine's day celebration" organized by gay rights groups, in which the Hsu-Chu ticket took part to show their endorsement and commitment to gay and lesbian rights. It was a public relations gesture on the candidates' part.
"This `virtual wedding' is an important political announcement," Chu said. "That is, we believe everyone should have equal rights, regardless of whether they are gay, lesbian, bisexual or heterosexual." Chu was dressed in a suit for the mock wedding.
"Only hypocritical politicians dare not touch on the issue of gay and lesbian rights," said Sisy Chen, who wore a wedding veil. Chen, also a spokesperson for the Hsu-Chu camp, criticized politicians who had did not attend Taiwan's first openly gay wedding four years ago in Taipei, when two men `tied the knot.'
DPP presidential candidate Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), then Taipei mayor, had originally been scheduled to attend, but cancelled at the last moment, citing illness.
Conducting the wedding yesterday, Hsu wished all people, regardless of their sexual orientation, a "fearless" future. He also promised to set up co-habitation and anti-discrimination laws to guarantee civil rights for gay people if he is elected in March.
The Hsu-Chu ticket is the only camp to openly include gay rights in their campaign policies and discuss the issue in public, according to the Taiwan Gay and Lesbian Association (台灣同志協會).
The Ministry of Interior recently rejected the group's application for government registration, saying the group encourages homosexuality.
"We want people to know that we comprise 10 percent of the nation's population, and we definitely have voting power," said Wang Ping of the Taiwan Gender Sexuality Rights Association.
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