Taiwan Unveils Long-Waited Gay Marriage Bill

Taiwan will become the first Asian country to create a same-sex marriage bill.

People are on pride parade in Taiwan

The top court in Taiwan in 2017 set a two-year deadline for drafting the bill after it said same-sex couples had the right to legally marry.

Same-sex couples will be able to wed, inherit and adopt if it passes.

The country’s cabinet will discuss the legislation today before sending it to parliament for review on the same day, cabinet spokeswoman Kolas Yotaka told Reuters.

The debate over the bill will likely start after March 1 and must be passed before the two-year deadline on May 24. If no law is passed by May 24 this year, same-sex couples in Taiwan will become the first in Asia who are legally allowed to get married. The parliament is expected to vote on the bill in May, ahead of the deadline.

However, some activists are not happy because there is a debate around the name of the legislation, the bill may be passed as a ‘co-habitation’ agreement, instead of marriage.

Premier Su Tseng-chang who is in charge of Taiwan’s cabinet, took to Facebook on Wednesday (February 20) to throw his support for the bill and for LGBT+ rights.

The Premier, who was chosen last month, said that homosexuality was “natural, not a disease, not contagious – and it is not possible to make heterosexual people gay.”

“I also want to say to fellow countrymen, whether you are heterosexual or gay: we are all in the same country, all together live on this land, all in the same heavens and the earth,” he wrote.

The Premier advised the parliament to pass the bill “as soon as possible,” before calling on everyone in Taiwan to accept each other.

“I sincerely except everyone to be inclusive, accept differences and treat each other well. Make Taiwan a country of mutual respect and friendliness,” he said.

The Premier also addressed the controversy over the name of the bill, and he said it would retain the draft name of “the interpretation of the law of the judiciary no. 748.”

“Social groups have lobbied for their version of the name of the law amid many controversies, and we feel that it is not necessary to debate, since everyone has to comply with the interpretation of the judge’s ruling, but the administration will propose the name of the law to be “the interpretation of the law of the judiciary no. 748,” which has now been sent to the legislature for consideration,” he said.

President Tsai Ing-wen openly supported the legalization of gay marriage before she was elected but has since said that there needs to be more consensus in society.

If the bill is passed it would be Asia’s first gay marriage law. In December Thailand’s Junta rulers proposed a similar bill but it has yet to make its parliament in the kingdom that is currently in the midst of an election campaign.

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