Blessed by the Buddhist Master Shih Chao-hwei (釋昭慧), Yu Ya-ting (游雅婷) and Huang Mei-yu (黃美瑜) became the nation’s first lesbian couple to be married in a Buddhist ceremony yesterday.
“Do you, Ya-ting, take Mei-yu to be your companion for life, to have and to hold, in sickness and in heath, in good times and woe, for richer or poorer, keeping yourself solely unto her for as long as you both shall live?” Shih asked to Yu in front of more than 100 guests attending the wedding and a statue of a sitting Buddha, after reciting Buddhist chants and a teaching on the meaning of marriage.
“I do,” Yu answered.
Shih then turned to Huang and asked the question, to which Huang also answered “yes.”
“You may exchange Buddhist beads now,” Shih said.
“Congratulations to both of you,” Shih said. “I am certain you will lead a life of happiness together, especially after you have overcome so much difficulty and societal discrimination. You have blessings not only from the Buddha, but also from those whom you may or may not know who are in attendance.”
The couple then stamped their seals on a marriage certificate, as did Shih and two friends of the couple who hosted the wedding.
Shih said that for Buddhists, marriage is a vow two people make to move their relationship to the next level and turn their love of themselves into love for the other.
The wedding took place at a Buddhist monastery in Guanyin Township (觀音), Taoyuan County.
Although the wedding was attended by a sizable crowd that gave the couple their best wishes, the absence of the couple’s parents reminded them that same-sex marriage is not so widely accepted by society.
“My parents have known my sexual orientation for many years, but at first, they couldn’t really accept it,” Huang told the media before the wedding. “So, when we started dating seven years ago, I took her [Ya-ting] home frequently to meet my family and let them know who I was going out with and gradually, they came to accept it.”
Huang said Yu’s parents only learned their daughter is a lesbian when they began to prepare for the wedding.
“Our parents originally agreed to come to our wedding, but they felt they were not prepared for the media exposure, so they decided not to come,” Huang said.
Another reality they have to face is that the wedding is not legally recognized. The couple has written an open letter to President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) urging the government to recognize same-sex marriage as soon as possible.
“Marriage is a basic right, and the Constitution protects the equal rights of each citizen of this country to enjoy equal rights, so there is no reason that same-sex marriage should be excluded form legal recognition,” said Chuang Chiao-ju (莊喬汝), a member of the Taiwan LGBT Rights Advocacy. “Ma calls himself a gay-friendly president so he should use his power to push for the legalization of gay marriage.”
Huang said they decided to have a Buddhist wedding because they are Buddhists and since around 80 percent of the population are more or less Buddhist, they hoped a wedding blessed by a Buddhist master would help change society’s views about same-sex marriage.
‘A DISASTER’: A successful Chinese attack on Taiwan would undermine the credibility of US security guarantees and could result in a global depression, three experts wrote A Chinese takeover of Taiwan would be a geopolitical catastrophe for the US and its allies, one that would overshadow almost all others over the next decade, US policy experts said. Andrew Erickson, a professor of strategy in the US Naval War College’s China Maritime Studies Institute; Gabriel Collins, a fellow at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy; and former US deputy national security adviser Matthew Pottinger issued the warning in an article published on Tuesday in Foreign Affairs. Bejing’s invasion or annexation of Taiwan “would be a disaster of utmost importance to the United States, and I am convinced that
Taiwanese businesspeople’s investments in China last year hit a record low of 11.4 percent of total foreign investment, the Mainland Affairs Council said yesterday. The number was a huge decline from 83.8 percent in 2010, mainly because Taiwanese businesspeople have been diversifying their investments globally over the past few years, with great success, the council said. From 1991 to last year, 45,523 Taiwanese investments in China totaling US$206.37 billion had been approved, accounting for 50.7 percent of overall foreign investment, data from the Ministry of Economic Affairs’ Investment Commission showed. The amount and proportion of Taiwanese investments in China has been declining, with
Taiwanese tourists on board a Kinmen cruise ship had a scare yesterday when it was intercepted by Chinese coast guards who forcefully boarded the vessel to inspect it. The Sunrise, a tourism ferry that operates between Kinmen and Xiamen, China, was sailing around the waters around the islets of Dadan (大膽) and Erdan (二膽) — both of which are part of Kinmen County — yesterday afternoon when it encountered personnel from China’s Fujian Coast Guard Bureau. China Coast Guard personnel forced their way on board and conducted an inspection for about 30 minutes before leaving, local media cited the tourists as saying. The
KINMEN: Coast guards on both sides of the Taiwan Strait should prohibit the entry of illegal vessels into ‘restricted’ waters to uphold maritime safety, Chen Chien-jen said Premier Chen Chien-jen (陳建仁) yesterday called for both sides of the Taiwan Strait to approach the security of Kinmen and Xiamen waters with rationality and equitability, following a boat chase that resulted in the death of two Chinese fishers last week. Chen was responding to media inquiries ahead of a legislative session amid rising cross-strait tensions following the capsizing of a Chinese speedboat off the east coast of Kinmen on Wednesday last week during a pursuit by the Taiwanese coast guard. The Ministry of National Defense established the boundaries of “prohibited” and “restricted” waters around Kinmen in 1992 to better protect