Taiwan Parliament Legalizes Same-Sex Marriage In First For Asia

“Today, we have a chance to make history," Taiwan's president said in a message before the vote.

Taiwan’s parliament voted to legalize same-sex marriage on Friday, the first legislation of its kind in Asia and a major win for civil rights groups across the region.

Tens of thousands of supporters gathered in Taipei, the Taiwanese capital, ahead of the vote, waiting outside parliament as lawmakers discussed the legislation.

“Good morning #Taiwan,” President Tsai Ing-wen wrote on Twitter ahead of the vote. “Today, we have a chance to make history & show the world that progressive values can take root in an East Asian society. Today, we can show the world that #LoveWins.”

Taiwan’s constitutional court ruled in May 2017 that legal language restricting marriage to a man and a woman was unconstitutional and gave the government two years to pass new legislation, Bloomberg reported. That deadline was later this month.

The vote went forward despite some strong public opposition to marriage equality. Taiwan rejected same-sex marriage in a November referendum organized by Christian groups, although that measure was nonbinding.

Agency France-Press notes that gay couples across Taiwan have remained in limbo since the court ruling and had mostly backed Ing-wen’s legislation as it offered the closest level of equality with heterosexual couples. The bill was the only one on offer to use the word “marriage” and will provide some level of adoption rights to gay couples.

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