Colourful celebrations in Taipei as Taiwan legalises same-sex marriage

Colourful celebrations took place in Taipei on Friday as Taiwan has become the first country in Asia to legalise same-sex marriage.

The vote allows same-sex couples full legal marriage rights, including in areas such as taxes, insurance and child custody.

Thousands of people, including same-sex couples, demonstrated on Friday morning outside Parliament before the vote took place.

Many held colourful umbrellas or rainbow-coloured placards reading: “The vote cannot fail.”

In November 2018, a majority of voters in Taiwan rejected same-sex marriage in an advisory referendum.

However, legislators favouring the bill, and voting separately on each item, said the bill followed the law as well as the spirit of the referendum.

In May 2017, Taiwan’s Constitutional Court said the constitution allows same-sex marriages and gave Parliament two years to adjust laws accordingly.

25-year-old Glenn Lio, who was at the celebrations in Taipei, told Press Association: “I feel really proud of Taiwan to be the first country in Asia to legalise same sex marriage.

“I am happy that we can continue to be an example of what it means for a country to commit itself to the development and protection of human rights and human freedom not just in Asia but across the globe.

“I am very proud of our MPs for standing up for what’s just today, seeing the strong opposition they’re facing after the referendum that voted against marriage equality last November.”

<figcaption class='imgFCap'>(Chiang Ying-ying/AP/PA Images)</figcaption>
(Chiang Ying-ying/AP/PA Images)

Lio said: “If I have to be completely frank, this is a comma in the LGBTI fight in Taiwan.

“In comparison to other countries that have legalised marriage equality the bill passed today is not as inclusive. For example it does not include intersex and transgender people. It also does not apply to marriages with partners from countries where same-sex marriage has not already been legalised.

“Many other counties have done so by removing gender from the definition of marriage. Taiwan however wasn’t able to achieve that this time.”

Annie Huang, acting director of Amnesty International Taiwan, said in a statement: “Love has won over hate, and equality has won over discrimination.

“This is a moment to cherish and celebrate, but it has been a long and arduous campaign for Taiwan to become the first in Asia to legalise same-sex marriage.”

The passing of the law on Friday falls on the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia.

- Press Association