Taiwan just became the latest country to legalize gay marriage! In a landmark decision on Friday, the self-ruled island has now become the first place anywhere in Asia to pass same-sex marriage legislation. The new law goes into effect on May 24th.
Two years ago, Taiwan’s Constitutional Court ruled that the existing homophobic law was unconstitutional, as it restricted marriage to a union between a man and a woman. After the ruling, the court gave the island’s parliament a two-year deadline to amend or enact new laws—a deadline they eagerly met.
Despite Taiwan’s general welcoming attitude towards the LGBTQ community, including holding the largest annual Pride parade in Asia, the issue of gay marriage had historically proved controversial. In a November 2018 referendum, 67% of the nation voted to reject same-sex marriage.
Xiaogang Wei, head of the Beijing Gender Health Education Institute, told CNN that the passing of the bill was a historic moment for not only Asia but the global LGBTQ community.
“It will have a very positive impact on China’s LGBT community, offering us a lot of hope,” Wei told the news outlet. “The Chinese government has pointed to cultural tradition as a reason for same-sex marriage being unsuitable in China. But the decision in Taiwan, which shares a cultural tradition with us, proves that Chinese culture can be open, diverse and progressive.”
Following the vote, the nation’s President, Tsai Ing-wen, took to Twitter to offer her congratulations to the people of Taiwan.
— 蔡英文 Tsai Ing-wen (@iingwen) May 17, 2019
“On May 17th, 2019 in #Taiwan, #LoveWon. We took a big step towards true equality, and made Taiwan a better country,” the post reads.
Congrats Taiwan! Let’s hope more Asian countries will follow suit very soon.