The city of West Hollywood hosted a special group wedding for seven same-sex Chinese couples on Tuesday morning at the West Hollywood Library, just in time for Pride month and the LA Pride festival this weekend.
The couples were selected from more than 400 entries as part of an online contest by the Chinese-based e-commerce company, Alibaba. Seven couples were selected as winners and then were flown to West Hollywood to be in a ceremony, officiated by West Hollywood Mayor Lindsey Horvath.
The nature of the contest was to foster tolerance and acceptance of same-sex relationships in China, according to Charlie Gu, of China Luxury Advisors, a partner company for the ceremony.
Horvath met with the couples and said it was an honor for West Hollywood to host the ceremony.
“It’s an historic occasion, a wonderful celebration of love and commitment. And what better place for this occasion to take place than in West Hollywood, which for our entire history has been committed to protecting and advancing rights of LGBT people, and celebrating and advancing in particular the right to equal marriage,” Horvath said.
For Duan Rongfen and Li Tao, who have been together for 11 years, the ceremony was special. Both Tao, Rongfen and Horvath were moved to tears as Horvath presided over their marriage ceremony.
The couple, who will only be in Los Angeles for a few more days, enjoyed a Starline tour of Hollywood and dinners at West Hollywood restaurants.
Their translator, Cheri Zhang, of China Luxury Advisors, said the couple will have a banquet upon returning to China.
“They plan on having a child,” Zhang said. “For them, this was like a new beginning.”
In keeping with the spirit of LGBT equality and pride, this weekend’s LA Pride festival will be celebrating its 45 anniversary.
“LA Pride is the first permitted LGBT pride parade in the world and was created to mark the one-year anniversary of the Stonewall riots in New York,” said Patti DiLuigi, co-president of Christopher Street West, the company that produces LA Pride.
The three-day festival begins Friday and ends Sunday. Kesha, 5th Harmony and Wilson Phillips will perform. Guests can also skate in an outdoor roller rink and enjoy hip-hop and youth spaces within the festival.
LA Pride peaks on Sunday with the annual parade, which will begin at 11 a.m. where Bert Champagne will return as host of the parade. More than 400,000 people are expected to attend.
Even after the weekend ends, the city of West Hollywood will continue to celebrate the LGBTQ community with the “One City one Pride” arts festival, which runs through Tuesday, June 30, the end of Pride month. The city is celebrating its 30th anniversary of cityhood.
On Saturday, June 27, the city of West Hollywood will present a free day of several theatrical performances in Plummer Park featuring staged readings and productions by the Alliance of Los Angeles Playwrights of the “Annual Gay & Lesbian Playreading Festival” and performance artist Yozmit performing a work honoring those who passed due to AIDS.
For information about the “One City One Pride” arts festival, visit www.weho.org/pride
or contact Michael Che at (323) 848-6377 or at [email protected].
For information about LA Pride, visit www.LAPride.org.