Taiwan becomes the first country in Asia to approve same sex marriage as legislature passes law allowing same-sex marriage. Taiwan’s lawmakers debated three different bills to legalise same-sex unions and the government’s bill, the most progressive of the three, was passed.
The two other bills which were not chosen had been submitted by conservative lawmakers. They referred to partnerships as “same-sex family relationships” or “same-sex unions” rather than “marriages”. But, the government’s bill which was eventually accepted, offered limiter adoption rights and referred to same-sex unions as marriages. The government’s bill was passed by 66 to 27 votes and backed by lawmakers from the majority Democratic Progressive Party.
Several same-sex activists had said ahead of the vote that this was the only version they would accept.
The vote allows same-sex couples full legal marriage rights, including in areas such as taxes, insurance and child custody.
In May 2017, Taiwan’s Constitutional Court had said the constitution allows same-sex marriages and gave parliament two years to adjust the laws accordingly, in order to suit the constitution.
Taiwan has always been accepting of gay and lesbian relationships. Especially, since the 1990s when leaders in today’s ruling Democratic Progressive Party championed the cause to help Taiwan stand out in Asia as an open society.
Although Taiwan is a self-governing democracy with a vibrant civil society, it is claimed by China, as its territory.
The new law will take effect after Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen signs it.