fter nearly two years of waiting, Taiwan’s parliament has finally become the first in Asia to legalize same-sex marriage following a historic vote on Friday.
The long-awaited vote came just one week before the May 24th deadline that the island’s top constitutional court had given for marriage equality being enshrined into law after a May 2017 decision which ruled that not granting marriage rights to same-sex couples was unconstitutional.
Despite that landmark decision, conservative groups in Taiwan have continued to fight against gay marriage for the past two years, securing a referendum in November in which voters opposed changing the wording in Taiwan’s Civil Code of marriage being between “a man and a woman.”
On Friday, Taiwan’s parliament debated over three bills including two that were submitted by conservative lawmakers and referred not to “same-sex marriage” but to “same-sex family relationships” or “same-sex unions” while significantly limiting rights. However, the government’s version of the bill, written by the progressive Democratic Progressive Party to contain the word “marriage” and to secure limited adoption rights, was the one that ultimately passed comfortably.
— 蔡英文 Tsai Ing-wen (@iingwen) May 17, 2019
Following the vote, thousands of gay rights supporters celebrated in the street outside the parliament building in Taipei as rain poured down. The bill will go into effect on May 24th after being signed into law by Taiwan’s president Tsai Ing-wen.