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Taiwan Becomes First Asian Country To Legalise Same-Sex Marriage

Taiwan Becomes First Asian Country To Legalise Same-Sex Marriage

Lawmakers in Taiwan have passed a bill to legalise same-sex marriage. The landmark decision makes Taiwan the first country in Asia to pass gay marriage legislation.

The vote came two years after the island's Constitutional Court ruled the existing marriage law in Taiwan unconstitutional. The law, which said marriage was between a man and woman, was given two years to be amended.

On Friday, a week off the two year deadline, lawmakers in Taiwan's Legislative Yuan passed a bill making same-sex marriage a reality.

The island has a large gay community, but the issue of gay marriage is still controversial in Taiwan. In a referendum, last November, 67% of people were against it.

Thousands of people demonstrated outside the parliament as lawmakers debated three bills. One tabled by the Cabinet, the others by conservative groups. The successful bill was the only one to contain the word 'marriage'

Xiaogang Wei, who heads the Beijing Gender Health Education Institute, called the bill's passing a historic moment, not only for Asia but for the global LGBTQ rights movement.

The Chinese government has pointed to cultural tradition as a reason for same-sex marriage being unsuitable in China. But the decision in Taiwan, which shares a cultural tradition with us, proves that Chinese culture can be open, diverse and progressive.

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People across Taiwan have taken to the streets to celebrate this historic moment.

The bill comes into effect on May 24th.

Joe O'Gorman

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