Taiwan is the First Asian Country to Legalize Same-Sex Marriage
Breaking News: Taiwan approves same-sex marriage
Taipei was in celebration recently. Taiwan’s legislature voted on Friday May 17th, 2019 to legalize same-sex marriage, a first in Asia.
This gives a boost for LGBTQ rights activists who had championed the cause for two decades.
In 2017, the island’s constitutional court ruled that same-sex couples had the right legally to marry.
Parliament was given a two-year deadline and was required to pass the changes by the 24th of May.
This makes Taiwan somewhat progressive. Taiwan is the first place in Asia with a comprehensive law both allowing and laying out the terms of same-sex marriage.
The history here is fresh. Although the island has a large gay community and its annual gay pride parade is the biggest in Asia, the issue of marriage equality has bitterly divided Taiwanese society. In a controversial referendum in November last year, 67% voted to reject same-sex marriage.
Lawyer Victoria Hsu is the founder and executive director of the Taiwan Alliance to Promote Civil Partnership Rights. Her team represented LGBT pioneer Chi Chia-wei in the lawsuit that led to the constitutional court’s landmark ruling two years ago.
In a memorable scene on the world news stage, thousands of gay rights supporters gathered in the rain outside the parliament building in the capital, Taipei, to await the landmark ruling.
Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, a supporter of the law, tweeted: “On May 17th, 2019 in Taiwan, Love Won. We took a big step toward true equality, and made Taiwan a better country.”
Taiwan still has a ways to go. It’s still not full marriage rights; they still need to fight for co-adoption rights, and even about foreigner and Taiwanese marriage, and also gender equality education.
- In 2017, Taiwan’s constitutional court ruled that same-sex couples had the right to legally marry.
- The government eventually held a series of referendums where the referendum results showed that a majority of voters in Taiwan rejected legalising same-sex marriage, saying that the definition of marriage was the union of a man and woman.
- As a result, Taiwan said it would not alter its existing definition of marriage in civil law, and instead would enact a special law for same-sex marriage.
Still we can hope that Taiwan’s action today kicks off a larger movement across Asia to ensure equality for LGBT people, no matter where they may happen to be born and to live.