Today, the Taiwanese government passed groundbreaking legislation giving same-sex couples the right to marry. Taiwan is the first Asian country to allow same sex marriage.
Conservative lawmakers pushed for a ‘civil-union’ law, but this was vehemently rejected by the Taiwanese parliament. A law was passed allowing same-sex couples to enter ‘exclusive permanent unions’. The government added a second clause which would allow couples to apply for a ‘marriage registration’ from government agencies.
Bad weather couldn’t stop gay rights supporters from gathering outside the parliament in the nation’s capital, Taipei. Thousands of people stood outside in heavy rain to watch a live broadcast of the debate and final decision.
Same-sex marriage, like many other places in the world, has been a heated topic for years in Taiwan, dividing citizens and members of government parties alike. Today, however, the top court in the country ruled that prohibiting same sex couples from marrying violates the constitution, according to The Guardian.
Judges gave the Taiwanese government until Friday, May 24 to make amendments to the law, otherwise laws allowing same-sex marriage would automatically be passed.
As the deadline got closer, the government came up with three bills to be voted on. The most progressive of the three, and the only one actually using the word ‘marriage,’ passed by 66 to 27 votes. Though it wasn’t as inclusive as they had hoped, it was the only bill of the three to allow some adoption rights to same sex couples. It allows spouses to adopt their partner’s biological children. However, same sex couples will not be allowed to co-adopt.
The president of Taiwan, Tsai Ing-wen, tweeted, “Good morning #Taiwan. Today, we have a chance to make history & show the world that progressive values can take root in an East Asian society.
Today, we can show the world that #LoveWins.”
And, history was made indeed, as Taiwan became the first Asian nation to allow same sex marriage.
This is historic! As opposed to the growing suppression of #HumanRights & #ReligiousFreedom in authoritarian #China, #Taiwan just took a giant leap for #MarriageEquality & #LGBTQI protection. We're proud to be writing a new chapter in #Asia. JW pic.twitter.com/CLCoy9hGo2
— 外交部 Ministry of Foreign Affairs, ROC (Taiwan) 🇹🇼 (@MOFA_Taiwan) May 17, 2019
The president spoke about how the illegality of same sex marriage divided ‘families, generations and even inside religious groups’. She said, however, that the bill is the only one to respect both the court’s judgment and a referendum made last year in which citizens voted to restrict the definition of marriage in the nation’s civil code to only between a man and woman. Instead of making changes to the civil code, the government created a new law for the regulation of same sex marriage.
Before the bill was passed into law, Jennifer Lu, a spokeswoman for Marriage Equality Coalition Taiwan, said, “The world is watching to see if Taiwan’s parliament will write a new page in gender equality or deal another blow to Taiwan’s hard-fought democracy, human rights and the rule of law.
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.”