Today, on International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, Taiwan made history by becoming the first country in Asia to legalise same-sex marriage.
The country’s parliament voted in favour of a bill offering same-sex couples similar rights to opposite-sex couples.
Early in the morning, ahead of the vote, Taiwan’s president Tsai Ing-wen tweeted: “Good morning #Taiwan. Today, we have a chance to make history and show the world that progressive values can take root in an East Asian society.
“Today, we can show the world that #LoveWins“, she continued.
— 蔡英文 Tsai Ing-wen (@iingwen) May 17, 2019
And, only a few hours after, history was indeed made.
The marriage equality bill passed with 99 lawmakers voting in favour, 66 opposing and 27 abstaining.
To celebrate this landmark victory for equality, thousands of LGBT+ people, activists and allies gathered outside the parliament despite the heavy rain, waving rainbow flags, flashing victory signs and breaking into cheers as the news was announced.
Two years ago, Taiwan’s top court ruled that marriage’s definition as only the union between a man and a woman was unconstitutional. Following this ruling, lawmakers were given until May 24 of this year to legislate or see marriage equality enacted automatically.
Despite the historic result, the bill approved today doesn’t bring full equality to same-sex couples.
The law only recognises marriages between Taiwanese and foreigners if the foreigner comes from a country where same-sex marriage is permitted.
Same-sex couples can only adopt children if the child is the biological child of one of the couple, and the mention of the word ‘marriage’ has been removed from the final version of the bill.
#LoveWins! @HRC congratulates all the advocates who have worked so long & hard for this incredible victory, making #Taiwan ??? ????? ????? ?? ???? ?? ???? ????-??? ????????! Special shout out to #HRCGlobal partners Jennifer Lu & Benson Lee. pic.twitter.com/DyAMUUZUnF
— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) May 17, 2019
LGBT+ rights groups, however, said they were willing to accept compromises, especially since in a referendum in November 2018, 72% of Taiwan voted against same-sex marriage.
Early reports have suggested that more than 200 couples have already registered to marry on May 24, when the first same-sex weddings will be allowed to take place in Taiwan.
© 2019 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.
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