- Taiwan legalised same-sex marriage on Friday, becoming the first country in Asia to do so.
- Thousands of people filled the streets of the nation’s capital city, Taipei, to celebrate the new law.
- The bill, which will go into effect on May 24, 2019, does not offer full adoption rights.
- Visit INSIDER’S homepage for more stories.
Taiwan has become the first country in Asia to legalise same-sex marriage after an ongoing local battle for LGBTQ rights.
Thousands of activists and supporters flocked to the capital city, Taipei, to celebrate the news with their friends, families, and significant others. From tears of joy to loving kisses, this is how the people of Taiwan celebrated the landmark event in their home country.
In 2017, Taiwan’s constitutional court ruled that the existing marriage law, which stated that marriage was between a man and a woman, was unconstitutional.
The court said the government had two years to make its decision a law. Parliament met to vote on the issue on Friday, reported CNN.
Thousands gathered outside parliament in Taipei to await the decision.
Despite rainy weather, gay rights activists filled the streets in anticipation.
When the announcement was made, the crowd erupted in joy.
The progressive bill was passed with 66 to 27 votes, reported the BBC.
Some shed tears.
But there were friends, families, and lovers there to support each other.
After fighting for so many years, this was a moving and emotional moment for many in Taiwan.
In November 2018, 67% of people who participated in a referendum about the existing marriage law voted against same-sex marriage in Taiwan, but gay rights activists pushed against public opinion and fought for their rights.
Meanwhile, some embraced their loved ones to celebrate the news.
The streets were flooded with rainbow flags, flowers, and smiles as the celebration continued in Taipei.
For years, thousands have been turning out in the streets both in support of and in protest against same-sex marriage, reported CNN.
Thousands stood in the rain to show their love, support, and excitement.
Earlier in the day, as people waited to hear the decision, it rained on the thousands who flocked to the city.
Nothing could stop the crowd from celebrating the fact that Taiwan has become the first country in Asia to legalise same-sex marriage.
Homosexuality is legal in some parts of Asia, like China, but discrimination prevails. Although homosexuality was removed from the list of mental illnesses and decriminalized in China in 1997, an author who goes by the name of Tianyi published a homoerotic novel entitled “Occupy” and was severely punished for it. Police described themes in her book as “violence, abuse and humiliation,” according to CNN. She was arrested in 2017 and sentenced to 10 years in prison.
In other parts of Asia, this type of bill seems far-off or even unimaginable.
In Indonesia, police raid LGBTQ spots like nightclubs, saunas, and even homes. Although gay sex is not illegal there, Islamic groups are pressuring lawmakers to criminalise the act. Gay sex is still against the law in Malaysia.
Other parts of the continent are a bit more lenient. India, for example, made gay sex legal in 2018, and Singapore’s high court recently allowed a same-sex couple to adopt. But LGBTQ rights are still largely a divisive issue throughout Asia.
The bill has some adoption rights for same-sex couples, but many said they will continue to fight to broaden those rights.
“I’m very surprised – but also very happy. It’s a very important moment in my life,” Jennifer Lu, chief coordinator of rights group Marriage Equality Coalition Taiwan, told the BBC. “However, it’s still not full marriage rights; we still need to fight for co-adoption rights, and we are not sure about foreigner and Taiwanese marriage, and also gender equality education. It’s a very important moment, but we are going to keep on fighting. We are Taiwanese and we want this important value for our country, for our future.”
The law will go into effect on May 24, 2019.
Taiwan’s president, Tsai Ing-wen, will now have to sign the bill into law.
The president has already voiced her support of the bill and celebrated the victory on social media.
“On May 17th, 2019 in #Taiwan, #LoveWon. We took a big step towards true equality, and made Taiwan a better country,”President Tsai Ing-wen tweeted.
Many hope this landmark decision will spark change throughout Asia.
“For Singaporeans, this is especially important because our government likes to go on and on about preserving ‘Asian’ values … so this sends a very important message to other developed nations in Asia,” Paul Ng from Singapore told the BBC.
- Read more:
30 inspiring photos of same-sex weddings around the world
- The 27 countries around the world where same-sex marriage is legal
- LGBTQ patients reveal their exhausting, infuriating, and surprisingly common struggles at the doctor’s office
- The Democratic presidential candidates will have a debate about LGBTQ rights. Here’s what all 17 have said about the issues.
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