On Friday — only a week off the two-year deadline — lawmakers in Taiwan’s Legislative Yuan passed a bill making same-sex marriage a reality. It will go into effect on May 24.
Tens of thousands of people braved pouring rain Friday to demonstrate in favor of same-sex marriage outside the parliament, where lawmakers were voting on three draft bills, one tabled by the country’s Cabinet — which would ultimately prove successful — and two watered-down rival bills tabled by conservative groups.
The successful Cabinet bill was backed by LGBTQ groups, despite the fact it creates a law different to straight marriage. For instance, under Cabinet’s bill, a Taiwanese person could not marry foreigners from countries where same-sex marriage is not legal.
Thousands turned of gay rights activists, many bearing umbrellas, rainbow flags and rainbow placards, gathered in heavy rain in the capital Taipei in support of marriage equality.
Ahead of the vote, Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen tweeted: “Today we have a chance to make history and show the world that progressive values can take root in an East Asian society.”
In recent months conservative groups have campaigned against same-sex marriage reform, pushing for a law that would see gay marriage legislation redefined as same-sex unions.
LGBTQ rights in Asia
Taiwan’s vote sets it apart from other parts of Asia where LGBTQ rights have regressed.