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Taiwan ready for first same-sex marriages in Asia

Taiwan ready for first same-sex marriages in Asia

This Taiwan couple posted their photo under the same-sex marriage bill announcement. (Photo: Facebook)

Taiwan’s president, Tsai Ing-wen, on Wednesday (22 May) signed legislation to allow same-sex couples to register for marriage in the country on Friday.

The Household Registration Department, meanwhile, issued a statement explaining the process for same-sex couples.

Taiwan’s parliament last week became the first in Asia to legalize same-sex marriage.

The government bill, which largely avoids the term ‘marriage’, has been labeled a compromise by LGBTI rights campaigners.

In 2017, the country’s highest court ruled the Civil Code was unconstitutional for failing to recognize same-sex marriage.

But, in a bitterly-fought referendum, most Taiwanese citizens opted for a separate marriage law rather than changing the civil code which would have brought genuine equality.

LGBTI rights campaigners accused conservative and Christian groups of running a well-funded campaign of hate and scare-mongering.

President Tsai on Wednesday said ‘gradually everyone will understand that what was originally feared was not happening.’

‘[The law] is to let more people be in love, be able to combine each other, take care of each other, have the warmth of the family, and receive the fundamental rights and interests of the law’ she explained.

Government leaders in Taiwan with same-sex marriage law (Photo: Facebook)
Government leaders in Taiwan with same-sex marriage law (Photo: Facebook)

Taiwan’s premier on Thursday urged government workers to treat same-sex couples in the same way as opposite couples.

The LGBTI community raised concern on Wednesday when a template of the marriage contract with ’same-sex marriage’ written on it emerged.

The ministry of the interior later promised same-sex couples would be issued a standard marriage registration certificate.

First in Asia

Marc and Shane plan to be one of the first same-sex couples to tie the knot.

They plan to head to the household registry office first thing on Friday.

‘We are about to get legally married!’ Marc told Gay Star News.

Marc and Shane met in sports class at college.

The pair, who are 29 and 31, now live in the capital of Taiwan, Taipei.

Marc and Shane from Taiwan will be one of the first couples to get legally married in Asia (Photo: Instagram)
Marc and Shane from Taiwan will be one of the first couples to get legally married in Asia (Photo: Instagram)

Last year, Marc proposed to Shane at the concert of one of his favorite singers.

‘I feel a bit nervous and my heart has started beating faster. I think this is because I know we are about to enter a new stage of our lives.’

‘We will hold each other’s hands as we meet tomorrow’ he also said.

The law

Taiwan’s parliament voted in favor of a government bill offering same-sex couples similar rights to opposite-sex couples after years of court rulings, referendums, and tussles in parliament.

The crucial 4th line of the bill passed with 93 lawmakers voting for the bill, 66 opposing, and 27 abstaining.

Thousands of LGBTI rights supporters gathered outside parliament and cheered as the vote was announced.

It was the result of work by LGBTI groups over the last 30 years, said Benson Lee of Marriage Equality Coalition Taiwan.

‘Legislators have come forward and stood on the side of love’ he told Gay Star News.

Same-sex marriage supporters gather outside Taiwan's parliament (Photo: Facebook)
Same-sex marriage supporters gather outside Taiwan’s parliament (Photo: Facebook)

In a last-minute effort to appease conservative lawmakers, Taiwan’s ruling party removed the word ‘marriage’ from the bill.

But, same-sex couples can still get register for marriage in the same way as other couples.

Couples can only adopt children if the child is the biological child of one of the couple.

Taiwanese citizens can only marry people of the same-sex that come from a country (there are 26 of them) that has legalized same-sex marriage.

Taiwan is the regional leader for LGBTI rights. Thailand’s ruling junta last year submitted a union bill to cabinet, affording limited rights to same-sex couples.