Fish Huang and You Ya-ting on Saturday exchanged vows in what is being described as Taiwan's first gay Buddhist wedding.

The women, both 30, wore white bridal gowns and exchanged prayer beads instead of traditional rings as up to 300 Buddhists chanted sutras seeking blessings for the couple.

The ceremony, which took place at a Buddhist monastery in north Taiwan's Taoyuan country, was performed by Master Shih Chao-hui, who is also a professor at Buddhist Hsuang Chuang University.

Shih earlier told the AFP that she was participating in the ceremony “because I hope my step can embody the spirit of Buddhism spreading compassion throughout the world” and added that Buddhist teachings “do not discriminate against gays and lesbians and do not consider human desires as a sin although they do call for restraint.”

“We decided to get married last year,” said Huang. “After being together for six years, we feel we need to make a life-long commitment to each other.”

Parents of neither bride attended the ceremony.

“We hope with the master's support, the wedding will change many people's perspective even though it is not legally binding,” Huang added. “We hope the government can legalize same-sex marriage soon.”

President Ma Ying-jeou has said he does not believe Taiwan is ready to legalize gay marriage.