Hong Kong LGBTQ+ couples boldly stage mass wedding despite same-sex marriage being illegal

Ten LGBTQ+ couples have tied the knot in a mass wedding in Hong Kong, despite the country not formally recognising same-sex unions. 

Although the weddings took place in what is recognised as a Chinese special administrative region, the couples technically got married – over the internet – in the US, Associated Press reported.

The event on Tuesday (25 June), took place with a registered officiant from Utah making their marriages official. While most US states require couples to appear in person to fill out paperwork, the Beehive State does not. A digital application process means weddings have been able to take place online since the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The weddings were held in a hotel in Kowloon district, with couples exchanging rings in front of family and friends.

Lucas Peng, one of those celebrating their happy day, said the semi-virtual wedding was a “very important step”, and that hopefully the event would advance LGBTQ+ rights in the former British dependency.

“I hope one day that everybody would accept the fact that love is not just between a man and a woman. It’s between two people who love each other,” Peng said.

“It’s just two humans who love each other. That’s the key. That’s the important part. And to be able to publicly declare our love for each other today is a very important step.”

The couples show off their rings after a mass wedding ceremony in Hong Kong. (Peter Parks/AFP via Getty Images)

Kurt Tung, who organised the event, said the mass wedding was a “dream” for the 10 couples, and he hoped it sent the message that same-sex marriage should be legalised.

“In Hong Kong, there’s not yet a way to go to a marriage registry to get married, but there’s this way we can offer them to realise their dreams of getting married,” he added.

Liam Mak, another of those to exchange vows, added: “Marriage doesn’t have to be divided into same-sex or different sexes. Marriage is marriage.”

Same-sex marriage being illegal flies in the face of widespread support for LGBTQ+ rights in Hong Kong. In 2023, the government was ordered by the top court to legally recognise same-sex relationships, but stopped short of demanding full marriage equality.  

However, three countries in Asia have legalised same-sex marriage, with Taiwan becoming the first in 2019, and Nepal and Thailand following suit this year. 

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