Taiwan made history on Friday with Asia's first legal gay weddings as same-sex couples tied the knot in jubilant and emotional scenes, the culmination of a three-decade fight for equality.
The weddings, which came a week after lawmakers took the unprecedented decision to legalise gay marriage despite staunch conservative opposition, places Taiwan at the vanguard of the burgeoning gay rights movement in Asia.
Around a dozen couples were among the first to arrive at a government office in downtown Taipei to legally register their relationships as marriages.
Taiwan became the first country in Asia to hold same-sex marriage ceremonies on Friday, a week after politicians voted to legalise it
Shane Lin (centre) and his partner Marc Yuan (right) became Taiwan's first official gay married couple on Friday as registration for marriages opened
Dozens of couple arrived early to be among the first to register their unions, before attending a party outside afterwards
Taiwanese lawmakers were given a two-year deadline to enshrine gay marriage in law after judges ruled it was legal, and that moment came last week ahead of ceremonies today
Cynical Chick (left) and Li Ying-Chien pose on a giant rainbow flag carpet after getting married in a registration office in Taipei
They embraced and kissed in front of the gathered press before proudly holding aloft their wedding certificates as well as new identity cards listing each other as spouses.
Among those tying the knot were social worker Huang Mei-yu and her partner You Ya-ting.
They held a religious blessing conducted by a progressive Buddhist master in 2012 but longed for the same legal rights granted heterosexuals.
'It's belated, but I'm still happy we can officially get married in this lifetime,' Huang told AFP after signing her marriage certificate, clutching a bouquet and beaming.
Legal recognition of their love, she said, was a crucial step and might help others accept their relationship.
'Now that same-sex marriage is legally recognised, I think my parents might finally feel that it's real and stop trying to talk me into getting married (to a man),' she said.
Despite jubilant scenes in Taipei on Friday, the decision has bitterly divided the island nation, with conservative groups vowing to punish the ruling party at next year's election
A dozen couples showed up early to register as married in Taipei, but around 300 marriages were expected to take place around the country on Friday
Friday's weddings mark the culmination of a 30-year fight for equality, even as conservative groups threaten to wind back the progress
A gay couple celebrates on a giant rainbow carpet outside the registration office in Taipei where they have just gotten married
A same-sex couple poses for photographs at the base of Taipei's 101 skyscraper after getting officially married
Shane Lin and Marc Yuan, a couple who fell in love at college, were the first to register.
'It's not been an easy journey and I'm very lucky to have the support of my other half, my family and friends,' Lin told reporters through tears.
'Today I can say in front of so many people that we are gay and we are getting married. I'm really proud that my country is so progressive,' he added.
Taiwan made history last week when it became the first place to legalise gay