Taiwan became the first country in Asia to legalize gay marriage in May 2019. Since then, nearly 3000 same-sex couples have taken advantage of the new law.
According to newly released statistics from the Ministry of the Interior, a grand total of 2939 same-sex weddings have been recorded in Taiwan in the past year. That number includes 2011 female couples and 929 male couples.
Most of the weddings have taken place in Taiwan’s most populous cities. New Taipei has registered 614 same-sex marriages, while Taipei has registered 484 and Kaohsiung 396.
LGBTQ+ couples in Taiwan had certainly waited for the opportunity to legally marry for a long time. After years of campaigns by LGBTQ+ activists, President Tsai Ing-wen became the first Taiwanese president to voice support for same-sex marriage in 2016. The following year, Taiwan’s Constitutional Court finally ruled that the country’s law against same-sex marriage was unconstitutional.
Parliament then had two years to amend or enact new laws. Legislators successfully met the deadline with a new law that went into effect on May 24, 2019.
On that day, hundreds of couples got married at a massive same-sex wedding party in Taipei. Gay couple Marc Yuan and Shane Lin were the first same-sex couple to sign their marriage certificate at the celebrations.
“Even though the entire registration only takes three minutes, I can’t stop thinking about what we went through over the last decade, and how long it has been since Taiwan’s LGBTQ activists first started campaigning for marriage equality,” Yuan told The Guardian.
The explosion of gay weddings only continued in the months after that historic day.
Taiwan’s new law is a victory for LGBTQ+ communities all over East Asia, who are now looking to this island nation as an example of what might be achieved in their own countries. As President Tai Ing-wen tweeted, the law was able to “show the world that progressive values can take root in an East Asian society.”