Taiwan is set to be the first country in Asia to legalize same-sex marriage.
A top court in the country today ruled that the current law, banning same-sex marriage, is unconstitutional.
Marriage equality can become law in two years
The Council of Grand Justices in Taipei decreed that if a law amendment to change the constitution is not introduced within two years, the interpretation of the current law should include same-sex couples.
‘If relevant laws are not amended or enacted within the said two years, two persons of the same sex who intend to create the said permanent union shall be allowed to have their marriage registration effectuated at the authorities in charge of household registration, by submitting a written document signed by two or more witnesses in accordance with the said Marriage Chapter,’ said the court in a press release.
The ruling came about after a local activist, Chi Chia-wei, challenged Taipei city government’s rejection of his and his long-time partner’s application to marry in 2013. The two were refused a marriage certificate at a local Taipei registration office.
LGBT activists are currently holding a celebratory rally near the legislature building. Watch the moment below when they heard the news.
Live: Gay rights supporters in Taiwan celebrate after the Constitutional Court said banning same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. pic.twitter.com/TsOsJG9Tsp
— The News Lens INTL (@thenewslensintl) May 24, 2017
Taiwan-based artist Tai Wang told GSN that the news had been excitedly received by LGBTI communities.
‘I am very thrilled about this. All my friends are extremely excited. It’s really a long fight. And we are just one step away. If the legislation council exceed two years without fixing the law, same-sex couples can go straight to household office to register marriage.’
‘Australia is falling further behind’
Among those to welcome the news are LGBTI campaigners further afield. Rodney Croome, spokesperson for Australia marriage equality group just.equal said in a statement, ‘This decision is bitter sweet because it means that Taiwan will have the benefits of marriage equality but that Australia is falling further and further behind.
‘Australian legislators who refuse to allow marriage equality to pass by having a free vote in parliament are bringing ever more shame on our nation.
‘Whoever you love, everyone is entitled to the same human rights’
Lisa Tassi, East Asia Campaigns Director at Amnesty International, said in a statement: ‘The judges have today said yes to marriage equality. This is a huge step forward for LGBTI rights in Taiwan and will resonate across Asia.
‘Lawmakers must act swiftly to ensure Taiwan becomes the first in Asia to make genuine marriage equality a reality.
‘As today’s ruling makes clear, whoever you love, everyone is entitled to the same human rights and equal protection under the law.’