Ten same-sex couples from China will fly to California to tie the knot this summer after winning a week-long wedding and honeymoon package in an online contest sponsored by Alibaba and Danlan.org, an LGBT-focused news site in China.
Taobao teamed up with Danlan’s Blued, China’s leading gay dating app, and three nonprofit LGBT groups to organize the three-day “We Do!” contest ahead of Valentine’s Day. The 10 couples were chosen from an online poll after over 75,000 web users cast their vote from February 6 to February 9.
The winners will hold a group wedding ceremony in West Hollywood, California, the Guangzhou-based organization Parents of Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) announced via WeChat earlier this week.
More than 400 gay couples registered for the competition by uploading videos of their love stories online, and 20 couples moved on to the second round based on netizens’ votes.
“The […] couples know their marriage is not recognized under Chinese law, but they still want to get married in the US,” A Qiang (pseudonym), the head of PFLAG, told the Global Times.
Melanie Lee, a spokeswoman for Alibaba, said that the competition “hopes to evoke respect and understanding of homosexuality and support the realization of dreams,” despite same-sex marriage being illegal in China.
“It’s more of a symbolic kind of gesture,” she added.
John D’Amico, a California mayor, welcomed the couples in a letter that was posted to Taobao and promised to serve as a wedding witness.
While it’s rare for a Chinese company to publicly support gay rights, this isn’t the first time Alibaba has taken an LGBT-friendly approach in a campaign. Last year, it featured a gay couple in a Single’s Day video promo that gained some buzz online.
Watch the “We Do!” video campaign below:
[Image via Weibo]