Turkey has its first ever, accidental, same-sex marriage

Turkey has its first ever, accidental, same-sex marriage
Turkey had its first ever same-sex marriage this month - but the marriage will soon end, as the groom had planned to marry another person altogether.
2 min read
30 April, 2019
LGBTQ+ people in Turkey experience routine discrimination [Getty]
Turkey has witnessed its first ever same-sex marriage - but the historic union will soon be annulled, local media reported, after it was revealed to be a mistake.

The two men parted ways nearly as quickly as they had come together as man and husband, but only because they had never intended to get married in the first place.

When Zekeriya Karatas and the woman he believed he had married, Gulsah Yilmaz, returned home after their wedding ceremony at the municipality wedding office in Soma, southwestern Turkey, the couple experienced quite a shock.

Looking down at their wedding certificate, Karatas found he had married the wrong Yilmaz.

Instead of Gulsah, Karatas had married Muzaffer Yilmaz, the father of the bride.

"We looked at the marriage certificate and my wife's name wasn't anywhere on it," Karatas told Ihlas news agency.

"We'd never seen a marriage certificate before and we were in shock, so we checked again," he explained.

The shocked couple rushed over to wedding office, fearing they would not be able to correct the error before the office closed for the day.

Although they caught a clerk on the stairs as he was about to leave the building, who explained his colleague must have made the error, Karatas remains "married" to his father-in-law.

"After that we started making jokes with each other. 'So did you take my father? We've sacrificed the marriage,' my wife would say," Karatas said. "It was a beautiful moment for us."

"I'm officially married to my father-in-law… I think that it will be corrected within a few days," he added.

Despite this administrative hiccup, same-sex marriages are outlawed in Turkey, where LGBTQ+ people experience widespread discrimination despite homosexuality never having been illegal in the country.

Recent years have also witnessed the brutal murders of several LGBTQ+ people.

Over the past four years, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has banned LGBTQ+ Pride marches in the Turkey's largest city, Istanbul.

In each of those years, LGBTQ+ people and allies defied the ban and staged the Pride parade regardless. Police have routinely attacked the march with tear gas and rubber bullets.

In Turkey's capital Ankara, LGBTQ+ events were banned in 2017.

The ban was only lifted after a court ruled it illegal this month.