Lawmakers in Taiwan legalises same-sex marriage after bill was approved on Friday. The self-ruled island becomes the first place in Asia to pass gay marriage legislation.
The Lawmakers comfortably passed a bill allowing same-sex couples to form “exclusive permanent unions” and another clause that would let them apply for a “marriage registration” with government agencies.
The vote came almost two years after the island’s Constitutional Court ruled that the existing law — which said marriage was between a man and a woman — was unconstitutional. The vote — which took place on the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia — is a major victory for the island’s LGBT community.
The panel of judges gave the Taiwan’s parliament two years to amend or enact the new laws. On Friday lawmakers in Taiwan’s Legislative Yuan passed a bill making same-sex marriage a reality. It will go into effect on May 24.
Despite heavy downpours, thousands of gay rights supporters gathered outside the parliament waving rainbow flags, flashing victory signs and breaking into cheers as the news that Taiwan legalises same sex marriage filtered out.
“The passage of Clause Four ensures that two persons of the same-sex can register their marriage on May 24th and ensure that Taiwan becomes the first country in Asia to legalise same-sex marriage and to successfully open a new page in history,” said the Taiwan Alliance to Promote Civil Partnership Rights.
The law does not bring full equality with heterosexual couples — it only allows for biological adoption, for example, and marriages with foreigners are not recognised.
Already, the island has a large gay community and its annual gay pride parade is the biggest in Asia.