Since becoming the very first Asian country to introduce equal marriage on Friday May 24, more than 1,000 gay couples have wed in Taiwan.
After legislators approved a government backed bill that would define a union between same-sex couples (Friday May 17), Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen’s Democratic Progressive Party pushed through its law in a vote. This was accomplished almost two years to the day that the county’s Constitutional
Court ruled that a law defining marriage as being between a man and a woman was unconstitutional.
With a two-year deadline to extend marriage rights to same-sex couples, November 2018 saw a referendum held on the matter, whereby of the 55% of voters who participated, 67% voted against marriage equality. The ruling, however, was binding and the results did not have any impact.
According to PinkNews, 526 marriage nuptials took place on the first day of marriage equality.
Marc Yuan and Shane Lin were the first gay couple to register their wedding. Queuing outside of a Tapei marriage registration office, Lin told Reuters, “I feel very lucky that I can say this out loud: I am gay and I am getting married”.
Their marriage certificate was signed by the LGBT+ rights campaigner Chi Chia-wei whose three-decade fight led to the Constitutional Court ruling.
“This is the right that we deserved from a long time ago. I hope Taiwan’s democracy and human rights will have a ripple effect on other countries in Asia,” said Chi Chia-wei.
Reports show that in the first month of equal marriage Taiwan has wed 1,173 same-sex couples – 790 female couples and 383 male couples tied the knot.
Two of the 1,173 same-sex couples have since obtained a divorce, Taiwan’s Ministry of Interior announced on Sunday June 23.
This huge step in LGBT rights does come without its limits. Under the legislation, same-sex couples may only adopt children who are biologically related to at least one of the pair. Transnational couples are also limited by a stipulation that same-sex marriages are only allowed between Taiwanese people,
or with foreigners whose country recognises gay unions.