As the subject of gay marriage is a hot topic in America, a married gay couple celebrates their union in Malaysia.
According to the Vancouver Sun, a gay pastor who married his musical producer boyfriend in New York last year has fulfilled a vow to hold a wedding banquet in his native Malaysia in what they believe is the first such event in the Muslim-majority country. Ngeo Boon Lin and Phineas Newborn III held a closed reception in celebration of their recent marriage on Saturday. While the event included many public displays of affection by the couple, karaoke topped the party.
While the event was a celebratory one, the couple risked government intervention as the government in Malaysia has strict policies when it comes to gay rights, as they have banned a gay arts festival, prosecuted a politician for sodomy and declared that homosexuality has no place in Malaysian society.
However, African-American husband Newborn states it was worth the risk, “We’re thankful to be able to make Malaysian history here.” Malaysian-born Lin is an ethnic Chinese pastor who has lived in the United States since 1998. Lin and Newborn attracted criticism from Malaysian officials and religious groups when they married last August.
While Lin identifies as a Christian, the Malaysia’s Cabinet minister for Islamic affairs voiced fears at the time. stating that the nuptials of the couple could promote “extremism” among Malaysia’s 28 million people. However, Lin is not hiding his love as he says, “It’s my right to celebrate my joy with the people I care about. The government can make noise, the religious conservatives can make noise, but they’re not welcome here.”
The ceremony of Lin and Newborn took place in Malaysia only one month after after Prime Minister Najib Razak said in in a speech that gay, lesbian and transsexual behaviour was part of a “deviant culture” that should “not have any place in this country.”
While discrimination of the gay community in Malaysia does exist, most gay Malaysians live free from direct harassment by authorities, and a law that prescribes 20-year prison sentences for sodomy, even consensual, is rarely enforced.
Married Gay Couple Celebrates Their Union in Malaysia.