Last week, Taiwan became the first country in Asia to legalize gay marriage. Now, hundreds of couples are registering their same-sex marriage with the state, including many at a massive wedding party held in Taipei.
Couple Marc Yuan and Shane Lin were the first to sign their marriage certificate at the celebrations.
“It has been a remarkable achievement for Taiwan’s same-sex marriage movement, and I feel lucky to have the blessings from my friends and family,” Lin told The Guardian. “I still remember how I tried to hide the rainbow flag after I attended the first gay pride parade in Taipei over a decade ago. But today, I am able to openly tell the world through these cameras that I’m gay and I’m getting married. I felt really fortunate.”
Lin’s new husband added, “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.”
The fight for marriage equality in Taiwan was hard won, but lawmakers finally passed a bill last Friday that grants gay couples the right to enter “exclusive permanent unions” and register their same-sex marriage with government agencies.
“What we have achieved is not easy,” Victoria Hsu, the founder and executive director of the Taiwan Alliance to Promote Civil Partnership Rights, told The Guardian in regards to the new legislation. “The law will not be 100% perfect, but this is a good start and this is a major step to end discrimination based on sexual orientation. Now the law says everyone should be treated equally no matter who you are, who you love.”
Hsu’s legal team represented the LGBT activist Chi Chia-wei in the lawsuit that eventually led Taiwan’s constitutional court to rule that the denial of marriage rights to same-sex couples was unconstitutional and paved the way for the new legislation.