- Lawmakers in Taiwan passed a bill to legalize same-sex marriage
- This comes two years after the Constitutional Court called the ban “unconstitutional”
- Taiwan has one of the biggest LGBTQ communities in the world
Taiwan has become the first country in Asia to legalize same-sex marriage after the island nation’s lawmakers passed a bill legalizing gay marriage legislation, CNN reports, May 17, 2019.
Taiwan Leads the Asian LGBT Community
For long, the issue of same-sex marriage has been a burning topic in world politics. Although at present, more than two dozen countries allow same-sex marriage, the vast majority of the nations don’t.
Swimming against the current is the small island nation of Taiwan which on May 17 voted in favor of a bill seeking to legalize same-sex marriage. The vote came in almost two years after the island country’s Constitutional Court declared that the erstwhile law which barred marriage between homosexual individuals was unconstitutional. At the time, the presiding panel of judges gave the country two years’ time period to amend or enact new laws.
Interestingly, the bill passed today was just one week away from the deadline set by the Taiwanese court. The new law will go into effect from May 24, 2019.
Shortly after the news broke, tens of thousands of people poured into the streets of the capital city of Taipei to celebrate the occasion. The bill, backed by multiple LGBTQ groups, is widely viewed as the triumph of freedom of expression in a regime that has often been troubled by the authoritarian powers sitting next door.
Ahead of the vote, the President of Taiwan tweeted the following:
Good morning #Taiwan. Today, we have a chance to make history & show the world that progressive values can take root in an East Asian society.
— 蔡英文 Tsai Ing-wen (@iingwen) May 17, 2019
It’s worth highlighting that despite having a vocal gay community and one of the largest annual gay pride parade organizers in the world, the debate surrounding same-sex marriage has been rather divisive in the Taiwanese streets. For instance, in November 2018, a controversial referendum rejected same-sex marriage by 67 percent.
Speaking of other Asian countries, the situation surrounding the LGBTQ community is not too dissimilar.
Although China has legalized homosexuality, prejudices and stereotypes against people from the LGBTQ community still persist under the powerful Communist regime. A recent example of this is the 10 years imprisonment of a same-sex erotic fiction writer.