In first for Asia, Taiwan parliament endorses same-sex marriage

18 Mai, 2019, 04:24 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Media playback is unsupported on your device                  Media caption Crowds celebrate as marriage law passes

Taiwan has always been something of a beacon for LGBT rights in East Asia.

"In Taiwan a marriage will take effect when it's registered, so allowing marriage registration is no doubt recognizing the marriage itself", Victoria Hsu, a gay rights lawyer, told AFP. "The law will not be 100% ideal, but this is a good start and this is a major step to end discrimination based on sexual orientation". For instance, under Cabinet's bill, a Taiwanese person could not marry foreigners from countries where same-sex marriage is not legal.

The vote allows same-sex couples full legal marriage rights, including in areas such as taxes, insurance and child custody.

The NPP motion sought to exempt such couples from regulations stipulated in the Act Governing the Choice of Law in Civil Matters Involving Foreign Elements, which state that the marriage of a transnational couple is governed by the laws of their respective countries. Conservative opponents had proposed rival bills that would define partnerships as "same-sex unions" or "same-sex familial relationships".

Same-sex marriage supporters shout during a parliament vote on three draft bills of a same-sex marriage law, outside the Legislative Yuan in Taipei, on Friday.

Late a year ago, Taiwan voters opposed same-sex marriage in a series of referendums, defining marriage as being between a man and a woman, while seeking a special law for such unions.

Taipei's colourful gay pride parade, one of Asia's largest, puts on display every year the vibrancy of the island's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.

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"For Singaporeans, this is especially important because our government likes to go on and on about preserving "Asian" values... so this sends a very important message to other developed nations in Asia".

"I think once more people are married and more families are more comfortable being out in public, that will naturally have a beneficial impact on society and on people's minds", Lin said. "This is a moment to cherish and celebrate, but it has been a long and arduous campaign for Taiwan".

The legislature faced a deadline imposed by Taiwan's constitutional court, which in 2017 struck down the Civil Code's definition of marriage as exclusively between a man and woman.

Tsai said earlier that she recognised the issue had divided "families, generations and even inside religious groups".

The panel of judges instructed MPs to amend or enact new laws before 24 May 2019.

Others warned of a backlash.

"If these kinds of people can be more visible, happening in our everyday life, I think that will be quite good", said Shiau Hong-chi, professor of gender studies and communications management at Shih-Hsin University in Taiwan.

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