In loving protest, Albanian lesbians marry unofficially

Alba Ahmetaj and Edlira Mara look on during their wedding ceremony at the rooftop of the Mayor's office, even though no law allows same-sex marriage, in Tirana, Sunday. [Florion Goga/Reuters]

On the roof of the mayor's office in Albania's capital Tirana, lesbians Alba Ahmetaj and Edlira Mara held an unofficial wedding ceremony on Sunday, a symbolic move they hope will promote LGBT+ rights in the conservative Balkan country.

Guests threw white petals as the couple, dressed in billowing white gowns, approached the altar that overlooked the historic city centre. When the ceremony finished, they kissed, and hugged their three-year-old twin daughters.

Same sex marriage is not allowed in Muslim-majority Albania, and their partnership will not be recognized by the state. But the couple, who were wed by two British pastors, wanted to send a message.

"Our society is very patriarchal and homophobic," Ahmetaj said before the ceremony. "This is something that belongs to us, why should society meddle here?"

Three storeys below, police guarded the building...

Continue reading on: