Taiwanese parliament legalizes gay marriage, a first in Asia

Taiwanese parliament legalizes gay marriage, a first in Asia

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The Taiwanese parliament on Friday legalized same-sex marriage, the first in Asia, two years after a landmark ruling by the highest court on the island.

Taiwanese MPs have widely passed a law allowing same-sex couples to form “permanent permanent unions” and a clause that allows them to apply for registration by the administration in the “marriage registry”.

This vote, which confirms Taiwan’s position at the forefront of Asian gay rights, is a victory for LGBT rights groups that have been mobilized for years to obtain the same rights to marriage. than heterosexual couples.

Despite torrential rains, thousands of supporters of this reform had gathered near Parliament, waving rainbow flags and making the “V” of victory as soon as the news fell.

“May 17, 2019 in Taiwan, love has won,” tweeted President Tsai Ing-wen, whose legalization of gay marriage was a campaign promise.

“We have taken a big step towards true equality and made Taiwan a better country.”

In May 2017, the Constitutional Court of the island ruled that it was contrary to the Constitution to deprive same-sex couples of the right to marry.

She had given the government two years to amend the law, stating that marriage for all would become a reality if nothing was done.

  • – “New page” –

But the conservative opposition mobilized by holding a series of referendums in November in which a majority rejected the idea that marriage could be defined as anything other than a union between a man and a woman, which had considerably reduced the legislative leeway of the government.

On Friday, World Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, Parliament had three competing bills to address the issue of same-sex unions, less than a week away from the court’s deadline.

The most progressive text, the one that was voted, was the government’s, the only one that contained the word “marriage”. The other two, filed by opponents of marriage for all, proposed something more like a civil union.

Homosexual rights groups welcomed Friday’s vote, saying that the possibility of applying for registration in the “marriage registry” – a provision called “Clause Four” – placed homosexuals in a position of near-equality with heterosexuals. and allowed to have the word “marriage” in the law.

  • – Adoption in debate –

The law does not provide for full equality with heterosexuals since only adoption of the biological child of the partner is possible, and marriages with foreigners are not recognized.

LGBT rights groups, however, were willing to make concessions on this topic if they gained recognition of the concept of marriage. The idea for them is that battles over adoption and surrogacy can wait.

In the last decade, Taiwan has been one of the most progressive societies in Asia on the issue of gay rights, including the biggest gay pride on the continent.

However, the island, which lives separate from China since 1949, is also a very conservative society, where religious lobbies are very powerful, especially outside cities.

Opponents of legalization lambasted the vote.

Tseng Hsien-ying, of the Coalition for the Happiness of Our Next Generation, told the Taiwanese media that the vote “trampled the Taiwanese people’s view that a marriage and a family consist of a man and a woman, a husband and wife. and a wife “.

Annie Huang of Amnesty International Taiwan said in a statement that she hopes the “historic vote will be imitated in Asia.”

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