The popular slogan of "One Man, One Woman" lauded by opponents of same-sex marriage may soon be countered by an unexpected parody: "One Ram, One Deer."


An unlikely love story between a ram and a deer at the Yunnan Provincial Wildlife Park in China will be officially consummated in a marriage ceremony this Valentine's Day, reports the BBC. Consistent efforts to separate the pair have proven futile, causing zoo officials to finally give in to the inevitable. Apparently the wedding clothes have already been picked out, and at least 500 tickets are expected to be sold for the event at about 66 yuan ($10) each.


Changmao the ram and Chunzi the doe's "unconventional" relationship began about a year ago not long after many of the park's hooved herbivores were moved to an enclosure together.


"We put them together because they were all herbivores," said Liu Gencheng, a park official.


Zookeepers soon took notice to the blatant public displays of affection between the two. Chunzi was frequently seen licking Changmao's hair, and Changmao would routinely attack any male deer that dared to approach his beloved doe.


At first officials were troubled by the odd pairing, even going so far as to forcibly separate them and deem the relationship "unethical." A public posting on the park's blog was eventually issued to justify the separation, stating that "they do not want to be separated but it is unethical to let them go on."


But Chunzi and Changmao soon proved that no boundary could get in the way of their love. On at least one occasion, Chunzi squeezed through the fence to reunite with her beau. Once the story had been picked up by local media, public outcry over the separation heightened, and the pair was allowed to reunite.


Now the two will finally be allowed to break the final barrier that still separates them, by being allowed to publicly marry. It just goes to show: outside forces can't decide who you love.

Bryan Nelson ( @@brynelson ) writes about everything from environmental problems here on Earth to big questions in space.

Ram and deer to be married in China
An unlikely romance in a Chinese zoo proves once and for all that you don't choose who you love.