This week, the City of West Hollywood will host a wedding ceremony and celebration for 10 lucky same-sex couples from China. A start to the city's many Pride events, the wedding ceremony and celebration — Tuesday June 9, 2015 at 9 a.m. — is part of a contest hosted by Alibaba, an e-commerce company based in Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China.
Although the Chinese government made a monumental step in 1997 after decriminalizing homosexuality, same-sex marriages are not recognized; this event, which is helped largely by Alibaba, is a major move. In a way, the celebration is meant to pose as a destination wedding for the same-sex couples as well as a push towards the awareness and acceptance of same-sex relationships in China.
Soon to be officiated by West Hollywood Mayor Lindsey P. Horvath, the ceremony and celebration will take place the West Hollywood Library. In addition to Horvath, the local and regional, city, county, and federal officials will come together to celebrate the event.
While the contest that granted the couples the opportunity was held by China's Alibaba Group, the ceremony itself is part of the collaborative efforts of the City of West Hollywood, along with groups such as Visit West Hollywood, Taobao (a Chinese online shopping marketplace), Blued (a Chinese social media app for gay, bisexual and curious men), PFLAG China, China Luxury Advisors, and the Beijing LGBT Center. The LGBT center of Los Angeles will also offer the couples a tour of the facility as well as host a reception following the morning events.
Many couples from countries such as China seek out opportunities that their government does not grant them and so West Hollywood, a city known for its recognition and acceptance LGBT relationships, is striving to provide the couples with what they've always wanted. In a press release, Horvath expressed a great deal of optimism and and pride regarding the city's work towards the event saying, "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."