Taiwan gay marriage: Parliament legalises same-sex marriage

Taiwan gay marriage: Parliament legalises same-sex marriage

Agency News

Taipie, May 17: Taiwan's parliament has become the first in Asia to legalise same-sex marriage following a vote on Friday.

Democratic Progress Party (DPP) Ker Chien-ming said during an interview on Thursday morning (May 16) that if same-sex marriage is not fully instated with respect to 2017’s constitutional ruling, it would be an irreparable blow to the ruling party. 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 - the government's bill - the most progressive of the three was passed, BBC said.

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

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. Taiwan's top court has ruled that not allowing same-sex couples to marry violates the constitution. Judges gave the government two years to make necessary changes by May 24, 2019 or see marriage equality enacted automatically.

Failure to do so will allow same-sex couples to register their marriages at any household registration office, effectively giving them the same rights as opposite-sex couples. Over 1,000 gay marriage supporters gathered outside the Legislative Yuan on Tuesday. Another rally begins on Friday at 0830 hrs as legislators deliberate which bill will pass its third reading. (UNI)