Same-Sex Marriage in Taiwan: Deadline May 24th

Taiwan could be the first Asian country to legalise same-sex marriage.

On May 24th 2017, Taiwan’s Constitutional Court ruled that the country’s ban on equal marriage was unfair to same-sex couples.  Giving the Taiwanese Government two years to put the law into place, the Constitutional Court’s deadline is now fast approaching: May 24th 2019.

Taiwan News reports that 157 gay couples have so far registered to get married on May24th despite the fact there’s ‘ongoing uncertainty over how Taiwan's legislature will handle competing demands from groups in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage and those opposed’

Taiwan news goes on to say that the Taipei City Government has opened telephone and on-site bookings for couples.

Despite the ruling of the Constitutional Court, the road to legalisation hasn’t been as smooth as campaigners had hoped.  During a referendum in November 2018, most voters elected to demonstrate that they did not agree with guaranteeing same-sex marriage rights for gay couples.

In March 2018, a draft bill went through Parliament proposing that the terms ‘marriage’ and ‘spouse’ only be used to describe heterosexual unions.

It would mean a separate law for same-sex couples - something that has been described as ‘discriminatory’ by supports of equal marriage. 

The Taiwanese Government is, therefore, in something of a delicate position because it must uphold the Constitutional Court’s judgement whilst similarly being seen to honour the results of the referendum.

Taiwan has long been touted as Asia’s first best hope for same-sex marriage. Although, Japan and the Philippines have at various times appeared to be closing the equal-marriage gap.  It will be interesting to see what shape the law takes on May 24th. 

Despite the referendum results in 2018, describes Taiwan as the most The LGBTQ-friendly country in Asia, and since 2003, Taiwan has hosted its own gay price festival attracting 78,000participants in 2015.  The Pride Festival in Taipei isn’t only important to same-sex couples but to neighbouring LGBTQ communities. 

We'll keep you updated on what happens over the coming weeks. 

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