Taiwan Legalizes Same-Sex Marriage

Evarado Alatorre
May 18, 2019

Lawmakers in Taiwan have approved a bill legalizing same-sex marriage, a landmark decision that makes the self-ruled island the first place in Asia to pass gay marriage legislation.

Cindy Su, one of thousands of gay marriage supporters gathered outside parliament, told the crowd: "We are just a group of people who want to live well on this land and who love each other".

But gay rights groups have said they were willing to accept compromises, as long as the new law recognised the concept of marriage, adding they could fight legal battles over surrogacy and adoption down the line.

The most progressive is the government's bill, the only one to use the word "marriage" and offer limited adoption rights.

President Tsai Ing-wen is expected to sign the bill before a court deadline to legalize same-sex marriage. "We took a big step towards true equality, and made Taiwan a better country".

"I believe the disputes over same-sex marriage will soon come to an end", Lu said.

More than two dozen countries around the world allow gay marriage, according to Pew Research.

Same-sex marriage in the United Kingdom became legal in 2014, Ireland voted to legalise same-sex marriage in 2015, in the U.S. it was also passed in 2015 and most recently Australia approved it in 2017.

To reduce the pressure DPP lawmakers may face from their conservative constituents, the Executive Yuan adopted a motion proposed by the DPP caucus the previous day that removed the sensitive term "same-sex marriage" from Article 2.

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"Taiwan's action today should sound a clarion call, kicking off a larger movement across Asia to ensure equality for LGBT people".

Before the vote on Friday, she tweeted: "Good morning Taiwan".

The NPP motion sought to exempt such couples from regulations stipulated in the Act Governing the Choice of Law in Civil Matters Involving Foreign Elements, which state that the marriage of a transnational couple is governed by the laws of their respective countries.

How does this compare to other countries in the region?

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"For the gay communities what matters the most is whether we can legally get married on May 24 and be listed as the spouse in ID cards, to be treated and respected as the "spouse" in the whole legal system. and whether same-sex families can obtain legal parental rights for their children".

It also amended Article 2 of the Cabinet's version, which reads: "Same-sex marriage refers to two persons of the same sex forming a permanent bond that is intimate and exclusive for the objective of managing a life together", removing the definition of "same-sex marriage" and rewording it to say that two people of the same sex may form a permanent bond that is intimate and exclusive for the goal of managing a life together.

Vietnam decriminalized gay marriage celebrations in 2015, but it stopped short of full legal recognition for same-sex unions. However, conservative groups had opposed any changes to the law, staging massive protests against such a move.

In April, the ruler of the tiny, oil-rich kingdom of Brunei announced he would introduce death by stoning for those convicted of gay sex.

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