Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: An Australian man wed his young Thai boyfriend in Chiang Mai yesterday, forking over 40 million baht in “boybride price” to the man's family for the privilege.

The traditional ceremony took place at the Chiang Mai home of Mr Chaiyanon “Un” Worasilp, a 27-year-old from Chachoengsao province, whose first name is unfortunately translated by the on-line Google Translation service as “Mr Bologna Repository”.

The groom, 60-year-old former Qantas Airline executive Leigh John Pleasance, was all smiles as he showered his young spouse with a non-binding dowry of cash, land and diamond and gold jewelry valued at 40 million baht.

He sold his home and other belongings in Thailand in order to buy the luxury home with swimming pool where he will live with his betrothed, he said.

Mr Chaiyanon, who has since graduated, said he chose Chiang Mai because he liked the relaxed lifestyle there. In keeping with the northern locale, both bride and groom wore traditional Lanna wedding attire at the ceremony.

The union was approved by friends and relatives on both sides, who turned up in proud support at the couple’s home in a housing estate in Doi Saket District.

The couple first met while Mr Chaiyanon was working in a Thai restaurant in Australia to help finance his undergraduate studies in advertising in the Land Down Under.

He said he decided to accept the marriage proposal last year, three months after the pair began dating.

While the marriage was approved by relatives on both sides, it could be a long time before the couple can legally register the union: the governments of Thailand and Australia do not recognize same-sex marriage.

While change in that regard could be a long time coming, the Thai custom of paying a dowry to the family of the bride has apparently been better able to keep up with changing times.

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