Ruling on Wednesday that traditional notions of marriage being between a man and a woman are unconstitutional, a Taiwan court has cleared the way for the Asian city to potentially become the first in the region to allow the marriage of same-sex couples.
Home to Asia’s largest annual pride parade, Taiwan has a huge gay community, but the issue of marriage equality has divided its society, sparking protests on both sides.
Taiwanese lawmaker Yu Mei-nu called the ruling “a step forward in the history of Taiwan’s same-sex marriage,” noting that even if lawmakers do not pass new laws allowing same-sex marriage in the next two years, gay couples will still be able to marry by the time 2019 rolls around.
Pointing out that opposition to gay marriage isn’t likely to go away even if new laws are enacted, Yu said the debate is likely to continue, adding, “I hope that the legislators will have the moral courage to pass same-sex marriage into law, however it is hard to predict how long it will take, at this moment.”
LGBT activist Wayne Lin called the ruling “a huge success for the LGBT and marriage equality movement in Taiwan,” adding, “We want to amend the Civil Code so same-sex couples can get married… our target is to complete this whole process within this year.”
Taiwan’s first female president, Tsai Ing-wen, supported gay marriage prior to being elected in 2016. “In the face of love, everyone is equal,” she said during 2015’s gay pride parade in a Facebook video. “I support marriage equality. Every person should be able to look for love freely, and freely seek their own happiness.”
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