On a historical rainy morning on Friday the 17th, 2019, Taiwan passed a law legalising same-sex marriages as thousands spilled out on the streets of Taipei with colourful flags and banners, clamouring for their right to marry.
The procession erupted into celebrations as the landmark ruling was announced, an emotional moment for gay people in Taiwan as well as other countries.
The legislature came into place after Taiwan’s constitutional court dismissed the Civil Code’s definition of marriage as exclusively between man and woman in 2017. The court gave the government a deadline of two years to rectify the law or else same-sex couples would be allowed to marry and register their marriage with local authorities.
In the face of rising outrage from conservatives, the government opted to hold a referendum in which numbers were overwhelmingly opposed to same-sex marriages. With a 24th May deadline looming in front of the government, the majority Democratic Party lawmakers passed the law with 66-27 votes.
Taiwan has now become the first in Asia to legalise same-sex marriages and hopes that others will follow suit.
Asia’s stance to same-sex marriages has been largely conservative with some trying gradually to introduce more gay rights while other nations like Brunei extended a moratorium to an initial death penalty on anyone found guilty of gay sex and adultery. In 2018, India ruled that gay sex was no longer a criminal offence.
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