Today and tomorrow is a sort of Chinese Valentine’s, so it’s an apt time for couples to be thinking of one another. That explains the timing behind China’s most surprising daily deal being offered by a Groupon-style site. The homegrown deals startup Meituan is offering a free trip to Vancouver, Canada, for one gay couple to go get legally married in that country.
The deal is being offered for free (see it here) to one Chinese gay couple. While Canada has legalized same-sex marriage, China hasn’t, so the resultant marriage certificate will be just a fancy piece of paper once the couple returns to Big Red.
Meituan’s free deal will cover travel expenses and one night of accommodation for the couple in Vancouver. Only one couple can win, with a draw to be held tomorrow to choose a winner. So far, nearly 80,000 people have entered to win.
As the site points out, same-sex couples do not need a Canadian residence permit or any such paperwork in order to get hitched there, and it can be done in a “very convenient” way on a tourist visa. Other cities and nations have been encouraging gay tripper tourism like this. I’m not sure why Meituan chose Canada over the US, but perhaps it’s because maple syrup is awesome – or because a wedding day can be rather ruined by being shot in the head.
As a sign that China’s youngsters are a lot more open than the traditionalism displayed by authorities, Meituan’s deals page hails “true love, regardless of gender” and calls on gay Chinese to “bravely get married”. Last year Meituan gave out free rainbow T-shirts for the two Chinese Valentine’s days. Today is the day for men to profess their love, while tomorrow is for women to reciprocate.
(Hat-tip to @bokane for spotting this)