The first same-sex couples to get married in Asia tied the knot in Taiwan on Friday (24 May).
At least 289 same-sex couples were expected to marry at Household Registration Offices across the country.
Shane Yuan and Marc Lin and Chun-peng Chou and Meng-huan Lin were among the nation’s first to get married.
They signed marriage registration documents in the nation’s capital, Taipei.
Legendary LGBTI rights activist Chi Chia-wei witnessed the historic occasion.
He signed certificates with a pen gifted to him by President Tsai Ing-wen to mark the occasion.
Shane Lin told Gay Star News he was ‘very happy’ to be finally married.
‘It is a very important day for us to remember’.
His mother told Gay Star News she was happy that the country recognized her son’s marriage.
First in Asia
Taiwan’s parliament last week became the first in Asia to legalize same-sex marriage.
The government bill, which largely avoids the term ‘marriage’, has been labeled a compromise by LGBTI rights campaigners.
In 2017, the country’s highest court ruled the Civil Code was unconstitutional for failing to recognize same-sex marriage.
But, in a bitterly-fought referendum, most Taiwanese citizens opted for a separate marriage law rather than changing the civil code which would have brought genuine equality.
LGBTI rights campaigners accused conservative and Christian groups of running a well-funded campaign of hate and scare-mongering.
Taiwan’s parliament voted in favor of a government bill offering same-sex couples similar rights to opposite-sex couples after years of court rulings, referendums, and tussles in parliament.
The crucial 4th line of the bill passed with 93 lawmakers voting for the bill, 66 opposing, and 27 abstaining.
Thousands of LGBTI rights supporters gathered outside parliament and cheered as the vote was announced.
In a last-minute effort to appease conservative lawmakers, Taiwan’s ruling party removed the word ‘marriage’ from the bill.
But, same-sex couples can still get register for marriage in the same way as other couples.
Couples can only adopt children if the child is the biological child of one of the couple.
Taiwanese citizens can only marry people of the same-sex that come from a country (there are 26 of them) that has legalized same-sex marriage. They must first provide evidence of a marriage in that country.
Taiwan is the regional leader for LGBTI rights. Thailand’s ruling junta last year submitted a union bill to cabinet, affording limited rights to same-sex couples.
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Author: Rik Glauert