Taiwan Legalises Gay Marriage

Taiwan has legalised gay marriage just days before the end of a two-year deadline set by the Constitutional Court.  

Taiwan is now the first country in Asia to allow same-sex marriage with campaigners hopeful that it could spur neighbouring countries in the region to follow suit.

In May 2017, Taiwan’s Constitutional Court had ruled that any ban on equal marriage was unconstitutional.  Up until that point, the law had been clear: marriage was between a man and a woman only.  The Court gave the Government two years either to update the pre-existing law or to create a new one.

A referendum in November 2018, however, showed that most people in Taiwan didn’t actually believe in guaranteeing rights for LGBTQ couples on the island.  It put the Government in a rather difficult situation: between the proverbial rock and hard place and caught or rather between the people’s vote on the issue and the demands of the Constitutional Court. 

Despite the results of the referendum, Quartz.com still describes Taiwan as being the most LGBTQ-friendly country in Asia. Each year, Taiwan holds a large Pride march that attracts visitors and supporters from right across Asia.

Rather than altering the existing marriage law, the Government has chosen to enact a new one thereby honouring the referendum results as well as implanting the demands of the Constitutional Court.

There were numerous attempts by those against same-sex marriage to derail the legislation but what passed, in the end, was surprisingly, the most progressive of all three options.

Reuters reported that 200 couples had booked to register their wedding on the first day of the law ‘coming into force’.  Foreign couples will only be able to marry in Taiwan if their home country allows same-sex marriage, too, which is a shame for many Asian couples.

We cannot wait to see how couples are going to celebrate their new and now very legal nuptials.

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