Taiwan: First Asian country to allow same-sex marriage

TAIPEI, Taiwan--The LGBTQ community earned a major victory in Asia, on May 18, as legislators in Taiwan voted to legally recognize same-sex marriage. News reports indicate the pro-LGBTQ mandate will go into effect on May 24.

Taiwan is the first of Asia's 50-some countries to permit two people of the same gender to marry.

The legislative vote was made amidst thousands of people - as many as 35,000, according to one Taiwanese publication - taking to the streets to express support or opposition to the policy proposal.

The path leading to the historic May 18 vote was a rough one, as two branches of the government were not aligned with voters on the issue. A 2017 ruling out of Taiwan's Constitutional Court reportedly found same-sex marriages to be constitutional and mandated the national parliament to modernize laws within two years.

"The Constitutional Court rules that provisions of the Civil Code forbidding same-sex marriage violate the Constitution, placing Taiwan on track to become the first country in Asia to legalize same-sex unions," Taiwan's official website stated.

Voters, however, rejected re-defining marriage as anything but an act between a man and a woman, according to news reports; it was considered a win for the country's conservatives.

Taiwan, however, reportedly hots one of the largest annual gay pride parades in Asia.

Pres. Tsai Ing-wen has made it one of her priorities to promote gay rights and same-sex marriage; her party, the Democratic Progressive Party, holds a majority in the Taiwanese legislature.

More than 23 million people live in Taiwan, which is not one of the 48 Asian countries recognized by the United Nations.