Taiwan legalises same-sex unions

Taiwan's parliament has become the first in Asia to legalise same-sex marriage following a vote on Friday. In 2017, the island's constitutional court ruled that same-sex couples had the right to legally marry...


Taiwan's parliament has become the first in Asia to legalise same-sex marriage following a vote on Friday.

In 2017, the island's constitutional court ruled that same-sex couples had the right to legally marry.

Parliament was given a two-year deadline and was required to pass the changes by 24 May.

Lawmakers debated three different bills to legalise same-sex unions and the government's bill, the most progressive of the three, was passed.

Hundreds of gay rights supporters gathered in the rain outside the parliament building in the capital, Taipei, to await the landmark ruling.

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

However, conservative opponents were angered by the vote.

What does the bill entail?
The two other bills, submitted by conservative lawmakers, refer to partnerships as "same-sex family relationships" or "same-sex unions" rather than "marriages".

But the government's bill, also the only one to offer limited adoption rights, was passed by 66 to 27 votes - backed by lawmakers from the majority Democratic Progressive Party.

It will take effect after Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen passes it into law.

Several same-sex activists had said ahead of the vote that this was the only version they would accept.

"The fight for equality does not stop here. We will continue to fight against discrimination, bullying and defend gender equality education", Jennifer Lu, chief co-ordinator of rights group Marriage Equality Coalition Taiwan, told Reuters news agency.

"For me the outcome today is not 100 percent perfect, but it's still pretty good for the gay community as it provides legal definition," said Elias Tseng, a gay pastor who spoke to the AFP news agency outside parliament.

Taiwanese singer Jolin Tsai posted a picture of a rainbow on Facebook accompanied by the caption "Congratulations!! Everyone deserves happiness!"

How did we get here?
In 2017, Taiwan's constitutional court ruled that same-sex couples had the right to legally marry.

It said then that the island had two years to make necessary changes to the law.

But this was met with a public backlash, which pressured the government into holding a series of referendums.

The referendum results showed that a majority of voters in Taiwan rejected legalising same-sex marriage, saying that the definition of marriage was the union of a man and woman.

As a result, Taiwan said it would not alter its existing definition of marriage in civil law, and instead would enact a special law for same-sex marriage.

What reaction has there been?
Many took to social media in celebration, seeing the result as a win for marriage equality.

"What a tremendous victory for LGBT rights!" said Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch.

"Taiwan's action today should sound a clarion call, kicking off a larger movement across Asia to ensure equality for LGBT people."

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

Meanwhile, Tseng Hsien-ying, from the Coalition for the Happiness of Our Next Generation, told AFP news agency the vote had "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".

How does this compare to other countries in the region?
Taiwan has been a leader for gay rights in Asia, hosting an annual gay pride parade in Taipei attended by LGBT groups from all over the continent.

Vietnam decriminalised gay marriage celebrations in 2015, but stopped short of granting full legal recognition for same-sex unions.

While same-sex marriage is still illegal in China, homosexuality was decriminalised in the country in 1997, and officially removed from its list of mental illnesses three years later.

Elsewhere in Asia, laws are changing to reflect more tolerant attitudes towards LGBT groups.

In a historic decision, India's Supreme Court ruled that gay sex was no longer a criminal offence in September 2018.

However the approach differs in other Asian countries.

In April, Brunei announced strict new Islamic laws that made anal sex and adultery offences punishable by stoning to death, but it says it will not enforce the death penalty for gay sex.

Source: BBC



Related Posts

Bawumia’s full EMT town hall speech

Man gets tens of thousands of birthday calls after sons post his phone number on billboards

Ghana may auction Eurobonds with or without final IMF review

Judge questions 1-yr delay in prosecuting man who set 11-yr-old boy ablaze

Muntari joins Spanish side Albacete on one-year deal

Allied Health workers call off strike

Economist explains why millennials are having less sex

Appiah names Ayew as new Black Stars captain

Leave a reply
your email address will not be published

Featured Posts

Appiah names Ayew as new Black Stars captain


Property rates to go up – AMA


Samira fights air pollution


Ne-Yo secures $6.4m from ex-manager


Google adds food delivery to Maps and search results


Dep. Min of Edu. hosts Independence Avenue Basic School students


Allied Health workers call off strike


Property rates to go up – AMA


Ne-Yo secures $6.4m from ex-manager


Google adds food delivery to Maps and search results


Allied Health workers call off strike


Google adds food delivery to Maps and search results


Dep. Min of Edu. hosts Independence Avenue Basic School students


Dep. Min of Edu. hosts Independence Avenue Basic School students