Taiwan becomes first country in Asia to legalize same-sex marriage

Nellie Chapman
May 18, 2019

Conservative and religious groups have been buoyed by a series of referendum wins in November, in which voters comprehensively rejected defining marriage as anything other than a union between a man and a woman.

In a landmark first for Asia, Taiwan has legalized same-sex marriage. They plan to register after May 24.

At least 20 same-sex couples are planning a mass marriage registration in Taipei on May 24, a spokesman for the advocacy group Marriage Equality Coalition Taiwan said earlier in the month.

Hundreds of gay rights supporters gathered outside the Parliament in the capital Taipei to celebrate. "I'm deeply moved", said Liu Tzu-wei, waiting in the rain for the ruling outside the legislature. "We took a big step toward true equality, and made Taiwan a better country".

Same-sex marriage supporters hold roses to mourn those who committed suicide because of discrimination during a parliament vote on three draft bills of a same-sex marriage law, outside the Legislative Yuan in Taipei, Taiwan, May 17, 2019. Adoption rights will have restrictions, and couples can "only jointly adopt children biologically parented by one of the spouses", reported The Wall Street Journal.

Ahead of the vote, Tsai tweeted: "Good morning #Taiwan".

Late previous year, Taiwan voters opposed same-sex marriage in a series of referendums, defining marriage as being between a man and a woman in civil law, though seeking a special law for same-sex unions.

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The six votes in favor of the motion included all five NPP lawmakers and Kuomintang (KMT) Legislator Jason Hsu (許毓仁).

"We need to take responsibility for the referendum past year and we need to take responsibility for people who have suffered from incomplete laws or faced discrimination", ruling party legislator Hsiao Bi-khim said during the three-hour parliament session.

Due to their legislative majority, DPP lawmakers were able to pass all the articles stipulated in the Executive Yuan version, without having to vote on comparable clauses in the two other bills submitted by KMT Legislator Lai Shyh-bao (賴士葆) and DPP Legislator Lin Tai-hua (林岱樺) respectively, which were deemed far less favorable to the gay community.

In a historic decision, India's Supreme Court ruled that gay sex was no longer a criminal offence in September 2018.

"The world will see Taiwan as a progressive country because legal protection of love is equally given to everybody", she said on her Facebook page.

Article 1 of the Cabinet's version reads: "This act was formulated to enable two persons of the same sex to form a permanent bond that is intimate and exclusive for the objective of managing a life together, thereby ensuring that the right to marriage is equal and protected".

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