Published: Sat, May 18, 2019
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Taiwan approves same-sex marriage in first for Asia

Taiwan approves same-sex marriage in first for Asia

"Taiwan leads the way in Asia on LGBT rights, cementing its laudable record as an increasingly progressive, rights respecting government amid growing authoritarianism and rights abuses in other countries throughout the region".

Earlier on Friday, Ms Tsai said in a tweet that the island had taken "a big step towards true equality" with the vote.

Australia passed laws allowing same-sex marriage in 2017, but such unions are not recognised by Hong Kong and neighboring China, which regards Taiwan as a wayward province to be returned to the fold by force, if necessary.

The Taiwan vote comes as gay rights activists around the world mark the International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia.

New Power Party legislator Freddy Lim said that he found that some lawmakers had made comments containing false information about LGBT people. It was the only of the proposed bills to use the word "marriage" to define the same-sex relationship, rather than terms such as "same-sex union".

Gay rights supporters celebrate outside Parliament after lawmakers legalised same-sex marriage bill in Taipei on May 17, 2019. The other bill sought to call same-sex marriage a "same-sex union" with partners referred to as "domestic partners".

MPs from the majority Democratic Progressive Party backed the bill, which offers same-sex couples similar legal protections for marriage as heterosexuals, by 66 votes to 27.

The vote came nearly two years after the island's Constitutional Court ruled that the existing law - which said marriage was between a man and a woman - was unconstitutional.


There were shouts of joy and some tearful embraces as the result was announced.

The government's bill created a new law specifically outlining same-sex marriage outside the Civil Code in order to comply with the plebiscite.

The capital city Taipei is home to East Asia's largest gay pride parade - an event that regularly draws tens of thousands of participants.

When the referendum was held last November, voters indicated they overwhelmingly opposed it.

"I think once more people are married and more families are more comfortable being out in public, that will naturally have a beneficial impact on society and on people's minds", Lin said.

Supporters said gay couples have been discriminated against for too long.

"For Singaporeans, this is especially important because our government likes to go on and on about preserving "Asian" values... so this sends a very important message to other developed nations in Asia".

Tseng Hsien-ying, from the Coalition for the Happiness of Our Next Generation, told local media the vote "trampled on Taiwanese people's expectations that a marriage and a family is formed by a man and a woman, a husband and a wife".

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