Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba is one of the sponsors of a competition that will see ten Chinese same-sex couples travel to West Hollywood to marry next week.
The ten lucky couples will arrive in L.A. today, and will be married by WeHo Mayor Lindsey Horvath on Tuesday June 9 at the West Hollywood Library. Through the rest of their trip, they’ll enjoy a mini-honeymoon, a pre-wedding shopping session at the Beverly Center and an evening reception at the L.A. LGBT Center following the ceremony.
“West Hollywood has long been at the center of the marriage equality movement,” said Mayor Horvath. “We hope that 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.”
Homosexuality was decriminalized in China in 1997, but same-sex marriages still aren’t recognized in the country. It’s striking then that Alibaba has chosen to sponsor the trip through its subsidiary Taobao (roughly an eBay equivalent). The company launched a ‘We Do’ campaign earlier this year, encouraging more than 400 same-sex couples to submit short videos to showcase their love for one another to win the chance to marry in L.A.
Other Chinese sponsors of the trip include the Beijing LGBT Center, PFLAG China, China Luxury Advisors and Blued, China’s largest gay social app. Blued will also send a camera crew to accompany the couples, documenting the trip and the wedding ceremony for a video to help spread LGBT awareness in China.
With one of China’s largest corporations publicly backing same-sex marriage by sponsoring this trip, this is yet another sign of growing LGBT acceptance worldwide. Perhaps marriage equality isn’t too far off in China’s future.