Taiwan’s Legislature on Friday approved a measure to legalize gay marriage. The move makes Taiwan the first Asian country to allow same-sex unions.
“Taiwan is moving in line with the world’s trend as it echoes the universal call for rights equality,” Jennifer Lu, chief coordinator of gay rights group Marriage Equality Coalition Taiwan, told the South Morning China Post.
About 40,000 supporters stood outside the Legislature in pouring rain to celebrate the passing of the landmark decision, which goes into effect May 24.
The bill’s supporters said gay couples had faced discrimination for too long.
“They don’t need to worry about that anymore,” Hsiao Bi-Khim, Democratic Progressive Party legislator, told the Morning Post. “After today, there is no need for them to face discriminatory treatments from others.”
The decision follows a constitutional ruling in 2017 that declared that the nation’s ban on gay marriage was unconstitutional.
What are the details?
Starting next Friday, same-sex couples can begin registering their marriages with government agencies, the Morning Post reported.
“I believe the disputes over same-sex marriage will soon come to an end,” Lu said. “People will find the day is still bright and the Earth still moves after same-sex people start registering for marriage.”
Marriages between a Taiwanese citizen and a foreign national would be recognized by authorities if the foreigner’s country has allowed legalized gay marriage.
Under the new law, same-sex couples can file joint income tax declarations and serve as the medical power of attorney for their partners.
Spouses would also be allowed to adopt their partner’s biological children.
What did opponents say?
Some opponents held protests, some which turned violent, while others threatened to pull support from lawmakers who supported the bill.
Taiwanese leader Tsai Ing-wen said the bill showed that “kindness and conscience” were still held as strong values on the island.
“I congratulate our gay friends for being able to win society’s blessing, and I also want to say thanks to those who have different beliefs but still offered support for this law,” Tsai wrote on social media, according to the report.