Thursday, May 25, 2017

Equality comes to Taiwan

Taiwan's highest court has ruled in favour of marriage equality:

Taiwan is to become the first country in Asia to legalise same-sex marriage, after the island’s constitutional court ruled current laws defining unions as between a man and a woman are invalid.

Taiwan’s highest court, the council of grand justices, said barring gay couples from marrying violated “the people’s freedom of marriage” and “the people’s right to equality”.

“Sexual orientation is an immutable characteristic that is resistant to change,” the court said in its ruling. “The freedom of marriage for two persons of the same sex, once legally recognised, will constitute the collective basis, together with opposite-sex marriage, for a stable society.”

The island’s parliament has two years to amend or enact laws addressing same-sex unions, otherwise gay couples will automatically be allowed to register under the current framework. Two of the 14 justices dissented and one recused himself.

There is currently marriage equality legislation before the Taiwanese parliament, which the government has been struggling to pass due to a conservative backlash. This will make its passage a near-certainty. One way or another, equality is coming to Taiwan.