Taiwan passes same-sex marriage legislation in historic first for Asia


Taipei Pride Festival in Taiwan same-sex marriage
Photo: Rod Stringer

Taiwan’s parliament has passed same-sex marriage legislation in a historic first for Asia.

The country’s government passed legislation on Friday allowing same-sex couples legal marriage rights, including in areas such as taxes, insurance and adoption.

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Ahead of the vote, Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen said, “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.”

Though the government’s bill falls short of full marriage equality, it was backed by LGBTIQ groups and is more progressive than two other “watered-down” bills put forward by conservative opponents.

Those bills avoided references to “marriage” and defined partnerships as “same-sex unions” or “same-sex familial relationships” and offered fewer rights.

All three bills were tabled for a vote on Friday (May 17) which is recognised around the world as the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, Interphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOBIT).

In 2017, Taiwan’s highest court ruled that denying marriage to same-sex couples was unconstitutional.

The judges gave the government until May 24 this year to legislate same-sex marriage law or same-sex couples would automatically be granted civil marriages.

But a referendum held in November last year complicated the country’s journey to same-sex marriage.

Over 70% of Taiwanese voters rejected legalising marriage equality through changes to the Civil Code.

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