Taiwan legalises same-sex marriage, becomes first in Asia to pass gay marriage legislation

New Delhi: In a historic move, the Parliament of Taiwan on Friday legalised same-sex marriage, making the self-ruled island the first in Asia to pass such legislation.

The legislators of Taiwan debated three different bills to legalize same-sex unions – the most progressive of which was passed. The two other bills, submitted by conservative lawmakers, refer to partnerships as “same-sex family relationships” or “same-sex unions” rather than “marriages”.

It was in the year 2017, that the island’s constitutional court had ruled that same-sex couples had the rights to marry and that not allowing same-sex couples to marry violates the constitution. The parliament was given a two-year deadline and was required to pass the changes by May 24.

Despite heavy rains, hundreds of LGBT supporters gathered near the Parliament in Taipei and the debate got underway.

Hundreds of gay rights supporters gathered despite heavy rain near Taipei’s parliament as a mammoth legislative debate got under way over an issue that has bitterly divided the island.

The change comes despite public backlash to the 2017 court ruling, which pressured the government into holding a referendum. The referendum results showed that a majority of voters in Taiwan rejected legalizing same-sex marriage, saying that the definition of marriage was the union of a man and woman.

(inputs from agencies