Famous Trang dive wedding open to gays

The world famous underwater wedding festival in Trang will welcome all couples, regardless of their sexual orientation, for the first time next Valentine's Day.

"We would like to extend an opportunity for lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders to openly express their love," Wichat Rattamanee, chairman of the Trang Tourism Association, told a press conference yesterday.

This would attract more tourists to the southern province, he said.

Since its launch in 1997, the underwater-wedding ceremony in Trang has taken place in February. For next year, it is scheduled from February 13-15.

Engaged couples or those who want to renew their vows will attend a Thai-style ceremony, and sign their marriage certificate underwater or on boats floating above.

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) couples will be given a certificate announcing that they are lovers.

Guests can come to witness the nuptials.

"For LGBTs, this is the Pride Wedding," said Natcha Voratanavanit, organiser of the Pride Wedding.

Natcha feels the Pride Wedding will make the underwater event in Trang even more novel and special than before.

Trang has long been recognised as the first place in the world to have couples sign marriage registration certificates underwater. The event has entered the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest of its kind.

Kittinan Thammatas, who heads the Fasiroong organisation, sees the Pride Wedding as the first step for LGBTs to openly express their feelings without scorn from others.

Mayuree Sukyingcharoenwong
The Nation