Taiwan legalize same-sex marriage in first for Asia

TAIPEI (The China Post/ANN) - Taiwan legislators voted to legalize same-sex marriage on May 17, a first for Asia. “#LoveWon,” President Tsai Ing-wen tweeted as more than 35,000 people took to the streets of Taipei to advocate same-sex marriage.

Gay marriage supporters, who surrounded the Legislature (Legislative Yuan) in rainy weather in the morning, holding banners and placards, cheered for pro-gay marriage legislators as they entered the Legislature building.

“Love transcends national boundaries; let’s start a family together,” they chanted, throwing their support behind the Cabinet’s draft bill on the issue, which successfully passed the second and third readings.

Today’s vote allows same-sex couples full legal marriage rights, including in areas such as taxes, insurance, and child custody. Under Constitutional Court Interpretation No. 748, Taiwan legislators were required to deliver a legal solution before May 24 on same-sex marriage, which is not allowed in Taiwan at the moment.

Under that act as it exists, however, a Taiwan national would not be able to enter into a legally recognized union with a partner from a country where gay marriage is not legal, even if same-sex marriage is now legalized.

Taiwan’s acceptance of gay and lesbian relationships began in the 1990s when leaders in today’s ruling Democratic Progressive Party championed the cause to help Taiwan stand out in Asia as an open society.

Ahead of this historic vote, Tseng Hsien-ying, president of the Coalition for the Happiness of Our Next Generation, an advocacy group opposing same-sex unions, said at a press conference near the Legislature that the government is “trampling on the will of the people.”

He argued that it was made clear in the referendum results in November 2018 when a majority, or 7.65 million Taiwan voters, voted in favor of retaining the Civil Code’s definition of marriage as between a man and a woman.