Taiwan Becomes First Asian Country to Legalize Same-Sex Marriage


Guy of Taipei

Same-sex marriage Taiwan

Jenna Miller, Editor in Chief

When it comes to same-sex marriage, different countries, cultures, and societies have a wide variety of views. As acceptance of LGBT individuals becomes more and more commonplace worldwide, more and more countries have recently been taking steps towards legalizing same-sex marriage. While same-sex marriage has been legalized in countries in Europe beginning in 2000 and North America beginning in 2005, with Africa’s first country to follow suit, South Africa, doing so in 2006, not a single country in Asia has legalized same-sex marriage until now, when Taiwan announced May 17 that beginning May 24, marriage between members of the same sex would be legal.

This is exactly two years after the Constitutional Court of Taiwan ruled the existing law, stating that a marriage can only be between a man and a woman, unconstitutional.

Taiwan is a small island but its LGBT community is one of the largest in Asia. The pride parade hosted in Taiwan is actually the largest on the continent. LGBT is a risky topic among individuals living in Asian countries. Though few countries prohibit same-sex partnerships and being LGBT, the laws of many of the nations in Asia do not prevent discrimination of those who are LGBT. This can make life as someone who is LGBT in Asia difficult. By being the first Asian nation to legalize same-sex marriage, Taiwan is making strides.

Taiwan is officially known as the Republic of China or ROC, as opposed to China itself which is referred to as the People’s Republic of China or PRC. China does have sovereignty over Taiwan, but because the government of Taiwan is democratic the people enjoy rights that are different from China’s – with this one being an example of such. Taiwan’s current president, Tsai Ing-Wen, has the goal of preserving the democracy of Taiwan and pushing China to democratize and protect the rights of the individuals. Following the passing of the law declaring same-sex marriage legal, Tsai tweeted that doing so “made a big step towards equality and made Taiwan a better country.”

“[The legalization of same-sex marriage in Taiwan] will have a very positive impact on China’s LGBT community, offering us a lot of hope,” said Xiaogang Wei, the head the Beijing Gender Health Education Institute, in an interview with CNN. Wei claimed that, because China and Taiwan share a culture, this historic triumph is proof that Chinese culture “can be open, diverse and progressive.”