In Taiwan, Parliament legalizes gay marriage, a first in Asia

The vote came two years after the Constitutional Court of Taiwan issued a judgment ruling that it was unconstitutional to deprive same-sex couples of the right to marry.

The World with AFP Posted today at 08:19

Time to Reading 2 min.

Supporters of same-sex marriage in Taiwan, May 17.
Supporters of same-sex marriage in Taiwan, May 17. Chiang Ying-ying / AP

A historic vote in Asia. The Taiwanese parliament on Friday (May 17th) legalized same-sex marriage, a first on the continent. The vote came two years after the Constitutional Court of Taiwan issued a judgment ruling that it was unconstitutional to deprive same-sex couples of the right to marry. The judge then gave until May 24, 2019 to the government to amend the law, stating that marriage for all would become a reality if nothing was done.

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On Friday, Taiwanese MPs have widely voted this law that allows gay couples to form "Exclusive permanent unions"and a clause authorizing them to apply for registration by the "Marriage registry".

Following the decision of the Constitutional Court, the Conservative opposition tried to prevent this legalization, supported by a league of religious movements, essentially Christian, today called the Alliance for the happiness of future generations. In particular, it organized a series of referendums in November 2018 in which a majority rejected the idea that marriage could be defined differently from what it is now, namely a union between a man and a woman, which had significantly reduced the government's legislative leeway. If these results were consultative and did not constrain the authorities, they reflect the fractures of society on this subject

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Compromise text

But less than a week from the fateful date, Parliament was seized Friday, which happens to be the World Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, three competing bills to resolve the issue of same-sex unions.

The most progressive text was that of the government of President Tsai Ing-wen (Democratic Progressive Party, DPP), the only one who uses the word " wedding ". Despite his shortcomings, he was supported by gay rights organizations who believe he offers what comes closest to equality with same-sex couples.

In recent weeks, President Tsai Ing-wen has strongly defended the government's bill by saying that it respects both the Court's judgment and the outcome of the referendums. "I hope everyone can be benevolent and tolerate different opinions to show that Taiwan is a mature civil society capable of resolving a divisive issue", she said Tuesday.

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