Lawmakers in Taiwan on May 17, 2019, have approved a landmark Bill legalizing same-sex marriage.
The benchmark decision makes the self-ruled island the first place in Asia to pass gay marriage legislation.
The Bill allows the same-sex couples to form “exclusive permanent unions” and would also let them apply for a “marriage registration” with government agencies.
The vote came following the decision of the country’s top court that not allowing same-sex couples to marry violates the constitution. Judges gave the government until May 24, 2019, to make the changes or see marriage equality enacted automatically.
With that deadline fast approaching, three bills were tabled for Friday’s vote. The most progressive was the government’s bill, the only one to use the word “marriage” and to offer limited adoption rights. It was backed begrudgingly by gay rights groups who saw it as the closest thing to full equality with heterosexual couples, despite its limitations.
The other two Bills presented by the opponents avoided the word marriage, offering something closer to same-sex unions with no adoption rights. Thus, both the Bills were rejected in the Parliament.
In a Facebook post, President Tsai Ing-wen said she recognised the issue had divided “families, generations and even inside religious groups”.
“Today, we have a chance to make history and show the world that progressive values can take root in an east Asian society,” she said in a tweet.
The passage of the Bill has placed Taiwan apart from other parts of Asia where LGBTQ rights seem to be regressing.