Taiwan makes history in Asia by legalising same-sex marriage

In 2017, Taiwan’s constitutional court ruled that same-sex couples had the right to legally marry and the parliament was given a two-year deadline to pass the changes.

One week before the deadline, Taiwanese legislators have passed the most progressive of three potential bills to legalise the marriage of same-sex couples.

Taiwan made history in Asia last week as it became the first nation to implement a law that legalises same-sex marriage.

On Friday the 17th of May, Taiwan became the first country in Asia to legalise same-sex marriage. Taiwanese lawmakers chose between three draft bills, passing the only one that used the term “marriage“, which was supported by progressive LGBTQ+ groups. The other two bills which were backed by more conservative groups offered limited rights, and only recognised same-sex unions with fewer protections and benefits.

Tens of thousands of people took to the streets of Taipei to celebrate after the announcement of the life-changing decision in favour of marriage equality. The decision was surprising to many after a disappointing referendum last year where 67% of voters said no to same-sex marriage.

Chi Chia-Wei, a gay rights activist who has been campaigning in Taiwan for more than 30 years, said he was “very, very happy” to see Taiwan legalise same-sex marriage, calling the process “a strong demonstration of our democratic spirit”.

The law has set Taiwan apart as an example for Asia’s LGBTQ+ community as same-sex unions remain illegal elsewhere in the continent.