- Taiwan held its first same-sex weddings on Friday after a landmark ruling that legalised gay marriage.
- The self-ruled island is the first country in Asia to have marriage equality.
- But the new law only applies to people who are from Taiwan or another country that recognises same-sex marriage.
- Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more stories.
For the first time, same-sex couples celebrated their weddings in Taiwan on Friday, making the island nation the first in Asia to legalise gay marriage.
But the landmark change in the law still excludes people from countries without marriage equality.
Authorities expect about 300 same-sex couples to register on Friday, after LGBT advocates fought decades to get their marriages recognised by Taiwanese law, the Guardian reported.
Marc Yuan and Shane Lin were the first couple to tie the knot during Friday’s historic ceremonies, the Guardian said. The couple had waited 12 years for their union to be legal.
“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,” Lin told the British newspaper.
“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.”
A woman named Xue Chen got to marry her partner Antonia Chen a decade after planning their wedding.
“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,” she told the Guardian.
LGBT rights activist Chi Chia-Wei, who spearheaded the campaign for the new law to get passed, oversaw the ceremonies wearing a red coat with rainbow-coloured teddy bears sewn on.
But some same-sex couples were not allowed to take part in the wave of gay weddings on Friday.
M.P. Tang, a Singaporean woman living in Taiwan, told Quartz that her marriage is not recognised on the island because Singaporean same-sex couples cannot wed.
In Taiwan, civil matters like marriage and divorce follow the law of both parties’ nations. That means the union is only recognised if both people are either from Taiwan or another country that has marriage equality, like the US or most European countries.
“Everybody is celebrating and we can’t, and that’s disappointing,” she said.
Tang has already wed her partner in Australia, she told Quartz. But not having her marriage count in Taiwan has real-life costs.
The new law allows gay people to adopt their spouse’s biological children. If their marriage were recognised, she could have full legal rights over the baby she is raising with her partner.
Others have criticised the law for restricting this right to adoption to biological children only.
Despite the subsections of the population to whom it does not apply, many Taiwanese people believe the country’s significant progress in LGBT rights should be celebrated.
Jennifer Lu, who attended Friday’s weddings, told the Guardian: “Today will still go down in history as the day when human rights and equality are upheld in Taiwan.”
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.