Seven gay and lesbian couples from China were married in West Hollywood after winning an online competition. The couples were selected by the public from among more than 2,000 who submitted videos detailing their love stories.

chinese gay wedding west hollywood
You may now kiss the brides. And grooms. The seven couples kiss after getting married in West HollywoodLucy Nicholson/Reuters
chinese gay wedding west hollywood
Hu Zhidong and Liu Xin prepare to get married at a group weddingLucy Nicholson/Reuters

Ten couples were chosen by users of Taobao, a popular Chinese online shopping site similar to eBay and Amazon, but only seven managed to get visas. The contest was also sponsored by Blued, a Chinese gay chat and dating app.

West Hollywood Mayor Lindsey Horvath officiated at the group wedding, and transgender activist Coco Lachine served as bridesmaid.

chinese gay wedding west hollywood
West Hollywood's new Mayor Lindsey Horvath officiates and bridesmaid Coco Lachine looks on as Xu Na and Xue Mengyao get marriedLucy Nicholson/Reuters
chinese gay wedding west hollywood
Hu Zhidong adjusts the flower in his fiance Liu Xin's buttonholeLucy Nicholson/Reuters
chinese gay wedding west hollywood
Duan Rongfeng lifts his husband Li TaoLucy Nicholson/Reuters
chinese gay wedding west hollywood
Liu Yingjie and Cai Zhiguo kiss after get married at a group wedding for seven same-sex couples from China, in West HollywoodLucy Nicholson/Reuters

While these couples' marriages are recognised in California, which legalised gay marriage in 2013, their unions will not be legal in China. Homosexuality was decriminalised in 1997, but China does not allow gay marriage.

"Because we are both the only son in our family, in Chinese tradition, the family needs us to procreate and continue the family line. They want us to follow that path," said Hu Zhidong, 32, who met his partner, Liu Xin, also 32, at a party where they found out they shared the same birthday.

During the ceremony many of the couples shed tears as they recited their vows in both English and Chinese.

chinese gay wedding west hollywood
Liu Yingjie cries after marrying his partner of 13 years, Cai ZhiguoLucy Nicholson/Reuters
chinese gay wedding west hollywood
Li Tao cries as he looks into Duan Rongfeng's eyesLucy Nicholson/Reuters
chinese gay wedding west hollywood
Li Tao cries as he marries his partner of 11 yearsLucy Nicholson/Reuters

Geng Le, founder and chief executive of Blued, said that while many online media outlets in China were interested in covering this event, Chinese television stations might hesitate, because homosexuality was still a sensitive topic there.

"I hope today's marriage can make the Chinese media and society be aware of the missing part in the law that gay couples cannot get married in China. But in a lot of states in America, they can. I hope China could expedite this step," said Geng.

He continued: "The biggest challenge they are faced with is the lack of acceptance and discrimination from family and society. But young people are getting more and more brave. And the society is becoming more and more open. When Ireland recently voted on the same sex referendum, it was reported on by the national media in China. So the progress has been pretty quick."

chinese gay wedding west hollywood
Xu Na and Xue Mengyao show off their wedding ringsLucy Nicholson/Reuters
chinese gay wedding west hollywood
Xu Na wipes tears from the face of her bride Xue MengyaoLucy Nicholson/Reuters

Xu Na, 29, and Xue Meng Yao, 21, the only lesbian couple participating in the ceremony, said the opportunity to use this event to come out was important.

"I hope [our marriage] is an encouragement to others. I hope they can get braver and everyone can find his or her happiness. I hope everyone can marry his or her loved one," said Xue.